Biosciences: Swansea University/University of Cape Town Funded PhD Studentship: Primate socioendocrinology revisited: new tools to tackle old questions

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 30 September 2018

Start date: 1 January 2018
Supervisors and institutions
Primary Supervisor: Dr Ines FürtbauerOther Supervisors: Dr Andrew King and Professor Justin O’Riain
College of Science, Swansea University, UK and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
This studentship is part of a collaborative doctoral degree programme jointly run by Swansea University and the University of Cape Town. On successful completion, the candidate will be awarded their degree by Swansea University, “offered in Collaboration with the University of Cape Town”.  
The project
The impact of the social environment on hormone-behaviour interactions has been the focus of many primatological studies. Yet, a number of questions remain unanswered, which we attribute largely to methodological issues with direct (focal) observations and relying on rates of behaviours over time. Recent advances in bio-logging now offer a more in-depth perspective and allow us to revisit some of these open questions. Together with another PhD student, the successful applicant will employ bespoke tracking collars (GPS, accelerometer) on a troop of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) on the Cape Peninsular, South Africa. These collars allow continuous quantification of behaviours/locations in real-time which, together with using a variety of the latest state-of-the-art non-invasive methods for assessing short- and long-term steroid hormone profiles, will enable us to test a number of socioendocrinological hypotheses in a wild primate. In particular, the project aims to quantify the exchange (and use) of sociopositive behaviours and evaluate their hormonal causes and consequences. Furthermore, Cape baboons have come into frequent conflict with humans and this project also aims to identify potential socioendocrinological underpinnings of human-baboon conflict and coping with human-induced environmental change.
The successful applicant will acquire diverse research skills, including field and laboratory techniques and advanced data analysis / statistical / modelling skills, and will benefit from working within a lively, inter-disciplinary research environment.


Candidates should have at least an Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. An MSc and/or relevant experimental/methodological/field experience would also be an advantage.
Candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests.


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This three year fully funded Swansea University College of Science scholarship covers full UK/EU tuition fees plus annual stipend of £14,553.


Please visit our website for more information.

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