University of Wisconsin–Madison

Teaching

An adult muriqui with two infants.
Photo: Pablo Fernicola

Primates are amazing animals for many reasons, including their social complexity, long lives, and impressive behavioral plasticity.  They are the closest living relatives to humans, and everything we learn about them gives us some insights into ourselves. With more than half of all primates now threatened with extinction, there are many exciting ways in which we can use our knowledge about primates and their habitats to help protect them.

Anthro 458: Primate Behavioral Ecology

This lecture-focused class takes a topical approach to the behavioral ecology of primates, divided roughly into three sections.  The first section of the course is devoted primarily to contextualizing primates in the past, present, and future (given threats to them), and to reviewing contemporary theories of social evolution.  The second section of the course covers major topics in primate behavioral ecology, from feeding ecology and diets, to social relationships among and between males and females, and development.  The final section of the course focuses on cognition and communities, as well as dedicated conservation applications.

Anthro 490: Ethnoprimatology

Ethnoprimatology is an undergraduate seminar that explores the intersecting worlds of nonhuman primates in nature, the humans that live in proximity to these primates, and primatological and anthropological field researchers. Classes focus around weekly discussions in which multiple perspectives are considered, focusing on contemporary field studies of wild primates and the human dimensions surrounding these studies.  Students with prior coursework and interests in biological anthropology, as well as other areas of biology and anthropology, will gain a broader perspective on the human-nonhuman primate interfaces in our rapidly changing world.

Anthro 668: Primate Conservation

This seminar-discussion oriented course explores the status of wild primates including the threats they face and conservation efforts at local, regional, and global levels.  Principles and examples from contemporary conservation biology include the effects of altered habitats (or novel ecosystems), climate change, human population expansion, resource extraction.  Topics such as these, as well as primate biology and population dynamics, will be discussed in terms of their effects on wild primate populations and primate behavioral adaptations.