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 began working on an M.S. in Biology in 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. She is interested in understanding the effects on behavioral development of dama gazelle and other antelope raised in the kudu nursery herd to see if allo-parenting is a viable alternative to hand-rearing infants who are not cared for by their mothers.

(Photo courtesy of Adriana Lopez)


Penny Wilson joined the SSUPER Lab as a Biology M.S. student in August 2014. She is interested in understanding how environmental enrichment affects the behavior and enclosure use of blue-eyed and ring-tailed lemurs at the Oakland Zoo and how these changes affect the length of time zoo patrons spend vieiwing the lemurs.

(Photo courtesy of Breanna Richards

Current Undergraduate Students

  • Tori Bohnett (Psychology)
  • Nakita Devargas (Environmental Studies & Planning)
  • Elizabeth Lemus (Anthropology)
  • Kmmy McIntyre (Biology)
  • Kyle Runzel (Anthropology)
  • Lauren Russ (Anthropology)
  • Madeline Warnement (Environmental Studies & Planning)
  • Donny Williams (Psychology)

Lab Alumni

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)