Empirical data for my research comes from a chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) population at ZSL's Tsaobis Baboon Project in Namibia. Baboons live in large and cohesive multi-male, multi-female groups. These groups contain dominance hierarchies, social networks and varying levels of kinship, and so are an excellent system to study social behaviour in. At Tsaobis they also live in an open, patchy environment, making it a great system in which to study foraging behaviour.
I am using data collected from these baboons to explore what the physical, individual and social factors are that determine baboon foraging decision-making, behaviour and success. In an American Naturalist paper in we used a technique developed to study human consumer choices (discrete choice modelling) to analyse baboon foraging decisions. This showed that these decisions are influenced by many factors, and that the influence of these many factors varies between baboons and between habitats.
This research has been done in collaboration with (past and present):
Dr Guy Cowlishaw, Institute of Zoology
Dr Alecia Carter, University of Cambridge
Prof Tim Coulson, University of Oxford
Dr Marcus Rowcliffe, Institute of Zoology