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


Adriana Lopez is working on an M.S. in Biology begining August 2013. She received her B.S. in Animal Science, with an emphasis in Animal Behavior, from UC Davis in 2011. Adriana's experience comes from years of working at Sonoma County Animal Care and Control, and most recently the California National Primate Research Center. Her interests include abnormal animal behavior and captive animal welfare in research, zoological and shelter settings. Her thesis focuses on cross-fostering behavior in greater kudu at Safari West. We are interested in understanding the effects on behavioral development of non-kudu antelope raised by the kudu herd to see if cross-fostering is a viable alternative to hand-rearing infants who are not cared for by their mothers.

(Photo courtesy of Adriana Lopez)


Current Undergraduate Students


Anthropology major Anna McPeck joined the lab in September 2013 and is studying social behavior in mandrills at the San Francisco Zoo We are interested in changes in group dynamics after the addition of two new adult females in Spring 2013.

(Photo courtesy of Anna McPeck)





Biology major Nicole Tillquist joined the lab in August 2013. She is a research assistant on the greater kudu cross-fostering research project at Safari West.

(Photo courtesy of Nicole Tillquist)




Biology major Gini Michels joined the lab in August 2013. In Fall 2013, she studied the effects of enclosure type on the behavior of black and white colobus monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo as the monkeys are transferred from their current enclosure into a new, larger one. Gini is now a research assistant on the greater kudu cross-fostering research project at Safari West.

(Photo courtesy of Gini Michels)


Biology major Bibi Rahimzada joined the lab in May 2013 and is continuing our long-running research on an all-male troop of squirrel monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo to better understand how the enclosure influences aggression and dominance behaviors as well as affiliative interactions.

(Photo courtesy of Karin E. Jaffe)

Andrew Mccrory


Biology major Andrew McCrory joined the lab in April 2013. He is studying hair-plucking by mandrills at the San Francisco Zoo with the ultimate goal of helping keepers reduce this stereotyped behavior as much as possible.

(Photo courtesy of Karin E. Jaffe)

Lab Alumni

Gillian KingBailey



Anthony Aliamus completed his research on male-male aggression in patas monkeys at Safari West and graduated in December 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. He is applying to dental school.

(Photo courtesy of Karin E. Jaffe)

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 applying to graduate programs in biological anthropology.

(Photo courtesy of Robert Bailey)


Gillian KingBailey


Natalie Hamblek (pictured with the San Francisco Zoo squirrel monkey keeper) completed her research on the sociophysioloyg 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 Bibi Rahimzada. 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. During the course of her resesarch, 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) assess 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)