03.09.2014 - 09:05
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Endocrinology Laboratory

The behavioral endocrinology group aims to understand how ecological and social parameters shape the diverse endocrinological patterns in great ape species and humans. While we are mainly interested in the investigation of great ape populations in their natural habitat, which necessitates the collection and measurement of non-invasively collected samples, we make use of the opportunities to collect samples in zoos and sanctuaries to develop and validate new methods. Some of the questions we are currently interested in answering using endocrinological approaches are:

  • Male reproductive strategies
    How do males maximize their reproductive success? How is this influenced by ontogenetic factors?

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  • Female reproductive strategies
    How do females distribute their matings in relation to the fertile period of their cycle? How reliable are the cues of potential fertility available to males? Are females able to exert mate choice?

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  • Social bonds and cooperation in chimpanzees and bonobos
    How does the identity of partners influence oxytocin excretion after cooperative interactions?

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  • Population differences in female reproductive hormones
    How do human populations differ in their female sex steroid levels and what causes this variation?

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  • Energy balance in African great apes
    Are there rank dependent differences in energy balance in African great apes? How is seasonality related to variation in energy balance? Are limits of the chimpanzee distribution range related to energetic constraints?

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  • Ontogenetic variation in great apes and humans
    Is adrenarche restricted to humans and chimpanzees only?

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  • Method development and validation

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  • Health and stress
    How is chronic stress affecting health of wild chimpanzees?

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