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Sonya Kahlenberg – Behavior

Primate behavioral ecology; biological anthropology

Professor Kahlenberg is a primate behavioral ecologist and biological anthropologist who collaborates with the Kibale Chimpanzee Project to study the Kanyawara chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) living in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Her research broadly aims to understand the nature and function of adult social relationships with a focus on female intrasexual competition and conflicts of interest between male and female reproductive strategies.

Sonya Kahlenberg in Uganda, 2009.

Kahlenberg also works with colleagues to link behavioral patterns with physiological markers of stress and fecundity using noninvasive techniques. Her other current research interests include sex differences in object and tool use and the adaptive significance of social play in adults. Kahlenberg is also involved with great ape conservation efforts and works closely with The Kasiisi Project to introduce conservation education programs into primary schools bordering Kibale National Park and evaluate their efficacy.

Selected Publications

Kahlenberg, SM and RW Wrangham (2010). Sex differences in chimpanzees’ use of sticks as play objects resemble those of children. Current Biology, 20: R1067-R1068.

Kahlenberg, SM, M Emery Thompson, and RW Wrangham (2008). Female competition over core areas among Kanyawara chimpanzees, Kibale National Park. International Journal of Primatology, 29: 931-947.

Muller, MN, SM Kahlenberg, M Emery Thompson, and RW Wrangham (2007). Male coercion and the costs of promiscuous mating for female chimpanzees. Proceedings of Royal Society London, Biological Sciences Series, 274: 1009-1014.

Selected Mentored Theses

Glennon, Elizabeth (2011). The effect of conservation education programs on students’ wildlife knowledge and attitudes toward conservation in primary schools surrounding Kibale National Park, Uganda. (Senior thesis, Bates College)

Casline, Elizabeth P. (2010). Non-offspring infant carrying in Kanyawara chimpanzees. (Senior thesis, Bates College)

Frye, Alison (2010). The effect of teacher education on conservation awareness in primary school children living near Kibale National Park, Uganda. (Senior thesis, Bates College)


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