Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Lab Members

If you are an undergraduate, and you are interested in studying the behavior of animals in captivity, please make sure you meet the requirements for joining my lab and then contact me to see if there is an opening.

If you are interested in pursing a master's degree under my guidance, please go to my graduate studies page for more information.

Current Graduate Students

Louisa Radosevich joined the SSUPER lab in August 2015 as a Biology M.S. Student. She received her Bachelor’s in Animal Biology at UC Davis in 2013.  Louisa has experience working at the California National Primate Research Center and the San Diego Zoo and her most research opportunity took place at the Caribbean Primate Research Center studying reproduction and immunity of rhesus macaques.  Louisa is interested in studying behavior of mammals and applying this information to animal welfare in zoos as well as to conservation programs.  

(Photo courtesy of Louisa Radosevich)

Nicole Cornelius will begin working on a M.S. degree in Biological Sciences in the August 2015.  She obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences at Sacramento State in December 2012.  She is interested in studying primate behavior. 

(Photo courtesy of Nicole Cornelius)

Penelope Wilson
joined the SSUPER Lab at Sonoma State University as a Biology M.S. student in August 2014. She received her B.S. in Zoology and Marine Biology from Humboldt State University in 2013. Penelope's experience comes from interning in animal care at Oakland Zoo, and years of working in veterinary hospitals. Her interests include captive animal welfare and environmental enrichment. Her thesis focuses on how temporal predictability of environmental enrichment affects the behavior and enclosure use of blue-eyed black and ring-tailed lemurs at the Oakland Zoo and how these changes affect zoo patron's interest in the lemurs.

(Photo courtesy of Penelope Wilson)

Current Undergraduate Students

  • Nichole Berry (Biology)
  • Kaysie Lewis (Biology)
  • Kyle Runzel (Anthropology)
  • Donny Williams (Psychology)

External Reseaarch Partners

SSUPER Lab projects rely on close collaboration with research partners at local zoos

Darren Minier works to enhance animal welfare and conservation management through the collection of accurate and reliable behavioral data that is then translated into real-world, effective behavior management solutions. Since 2000, Mr. Minier has built and managed animal care, behavior management, and welfare programs with a large range of taxa - both captive and free-ranging - in zoos, marine parks, sanctuaries, animal-assisted therapy, and biomedical research facilities both nationally and abroad. He received a Masters degree in Collections Management and Zoological Administration from George Mason University and AZA's Zoo and Aquarium Leadership Program, BS from the University of California, Davis in Wildlife and Fish Conservation Biology focusing in Behavioral Ecology, and three degrees from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. Mr. Minier is a Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo overseeing the management of a diverse section of charismatic megafauna including ungulates, large carnivores, birds and reptiles, and primates, and also oversees the Zoo's research and animal care volunteer programs. He currently serves as the Chief Information Officer on the Board of Directors of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, on the Captive Care Committee of the International Primatological Society, the Animal Behavior Society's Animal Care Committee, the Executive Review Committee for the International Primatological Society, and an animal management and well-being reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Animal Welfare, and Zoo Biology.

(Photo courtesy of Darren Minier)

Lab Alumni

Gillian KingBailey


Adriana Lopez earned her M.S. in Biology in May 2015. Her thesis examined the effects of an alternative rearing strategy ('nanny rearing') on captive African ungulates. She compared nanny reared orphans with hand-reared orphans and individuals raised by their mothers. Her results indicate that nanny-rearing results in more species-typical behavior than hand-rearing, but may not affect mating success. She is the Program and Outreach Coordinator for Compassion Without Borders and is a senior lab assistant at Santa Rosa Junior College.

(Photo courtesy of Adriana Lopez)

Gillian KingBailey


Gillian King-Bailey completed her research on mating behavior in cheetah at Safari West and graduated in December 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. She is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Tulane University.

(Photo courtesy of Robert Bailey)

Gillian KingBailey


Natalie Hamblek (pictured with the San Francisco Zoo squirrel monkey keeper Dave Carroll) completed her research on the sociophysiology of the all-male group of squirrel monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo and graduated in May 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. She is a Ph.D. student in Zoology at Oregon State University.

(Photo courtesy of Karin Jaffe)

Marcia Brown received her M.A. in Biological Anthropology through the Interdisciplinary Studies Program posthumously in May 2013. Her master's research, which began in May 2010, focused on the behavior of an all-male group of squirrel monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo. Her research continues into the present via other SSUPER Research assistants, including Natalie Hambalek and Madeline Warnement. Her generous donation of the Marcia K. Brown Memorial Primatology Scholarship supports SSU students conducting behavioral research on non-human primates. View and apply for the scholarship.

(Photo courtesy of Karin Jaffe)

Brieanna Richards recieved her M.S. in Biology from Sonoma State University in July, 2008. Her thesis focused on the effects of stimuli on ring-tail lemur behavior. She collected behavioral data on a group of captive ring-tail lemurs at Safari West wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, CA to: 1) compare the behavior of the captive group to wild populations, 2) assess the effects various types of naturally occurring stimuli have on the group's behavior when compared to baseline conditions, and 3) determine if individuals behave differently under various stimuli conditions. Her results indicate: 1) significant differences exist between the Safari West group and wild populations of ring-tail lemurs in terms of time allocated to inactivity, feeding, vocalizing and vigilance, 2) that various types of stimuli significantly affect locomotion, grooming, vigilance and vocalization behaviors in the captive group, but not inactive, scent-marking and feeding behaviors, and 3) individual lemur behavior did not significantly vary. Finally, Brieanna's thesis explores possible future enrichment techniques for the Safari West ring-tail lemurs. Brieanna is currently adjunct faculty in Biology at College of Marin and Santa Rosa Junior College.

(Photo courtesy of Karin Jaffe)