Disciplines

Observing Primate Behaviour

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Science
Course code
M15
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 625.00
Level
Advanced Bachelor
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The summer course Observing Primate Behaviour focuses on getting familiar with primate observational methods by observing primate social behaviour and following the scientific cycle. Through the analysis of gathered observational data, students investigate and present their own research questions. Furthermore, the additional activities aim to provide the students with more background information on the different topics related to studying primate behaviour, such as welfare, colony management and fieldwork. 

Looking at primates is like looking in a mirror. Similar to humans, primates are highly sociable animals with complex social interactions. Relationships of primates are characterized by agonism, affiliation and sex. Understanding their social behaviour requires objective observational methods and careful data analysis. The summer course Observing Primate Behaviour focuses on getting familiar with primate observational methods by observing primate social behaviour and following the scientific cycle. Through the analysis of gathered observational data, students investigate and present their own research questions.

As the name suggests, the summer course ‘Observing Primate Behaviour’ focuses on observing behaviour and therefore includes actual data collection of primate social behaviour by live observations. The course employs the scientific cycle by asking and answering research questions through the analysis of the gathered observational data. The student uses statistical methods (using R studio/SPSS Statistics and MatMan) to analyse the data and will present their own research both in writing and verbally.

In addition, the course includes lectures (topics include: animal behaviour, conducting behavioural research & fieldwork experiences), a social event, visit to the famous Dutch primate zoo Apenheul, Apeldoorn and live observations of a social group of primates. The observations will be conducted on the colony of long-tailed macaques that is used for behavioural biology studies. The Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC), Rijswijk provides one day in the program with information and discussions on the ethics of animal husbandry, welfare and experimentation.

The course is open for (advanced) bachelor and master students with an interest in biology, zoology and ethology and preferably having followed and passed a basic statistical course. This course is particularly interesting for biology/psychology/zoology students who wish to gain experience in using observational methods to study (animal) behaviour.

The course has a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 16 participants. Applicants should send a letter with a short motivation (max 200 words), short resume and transcript of grades, including information on general education and courses on animal behaviour topics and statistics (if any). Applications should be submitted before 1 May 2019; admission depends on education level and order of application.
Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Prof. dr. Liesbeth Sterck

Lecturers

Prof. dr. E.H.M. Sterck

Dr. A.M. Schel

L.M. van den Berg, MSc.

Target audience

The course is open for (advanced) bachelor and master students with an interest in biology, zoology and ethology and preferably having followed and passed a basic statistical course. This course is particularly interesting for biology/psychology/zoology students who wish to gain experience in using observational methods to study (animal) behaviour.

Course aim

The course aims to get students acquainted with the full spectrum of studying primate social behaviour. Therefore the course includes experience with actual data collection of primate social behaviour by live observations, employs the scientific cycle by asking and answering research questions through the (statistical) analysis of the gathered observational data and lets students present their own research both in writing and verbally. Furthermore, the additional activities aim to provide the students with more background information on the different topics related to studying primate behaviour, such as welfare, colony management and fieldwork.

Study load

This two-week course includes three days of observations, one day at the zoo (with assignment and tour), two days of lectures & symposium, one discussion day and lecture at BPRC, Rijswijk, one day of data analysis (including lecture), social evening event, time to write your thesis and present your research verbally (including supervision and time for self-study). Usually we have activities planned from 09:30 - 17:00 h, however because activity locations are often not in Utrecht, you should take into account some time (and extra costs) for travelling as well. A preliminary program can be provided on request.

Costs

Course fee
€ 625.00
Housing fee
€ 350.00

Housing through Utrecht Summer School

Costs for traveling (to Rijswijk and Apeldoorn) are not included in the course fee; take into account additional costs for traveling. One lunch, coffee/tea, social dinner and entrance to zoo is already included in the course fee.

Application

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

  • Motivation Letter
  • C.V.
  • Transcript of Grades

More information

Registration

Application deadline: 01 May 2019