Behavioural and hormonal responses to predation in female chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus). Proc Roy Soc Lond B

Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018, USA.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.05). 04/2006; 273(1587):707-12. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3378
Source: PubMed


In humans, bereavement is associated with an increase in glucocorticoid (GC) levels, though this increase can be mitigated by social support. We examined faecal GC levels and grooming behaviour of free-ranging female baboons to determine whether similar effects were also evident in a non-human species. Females who lost a close relative experienced a significant increase in GC levels in the weeks following their relative's death compared with the weeks before, whereas control females showed no such increase. Despite the fact that females concentrate much of their grooming on close kin, females who lost a close female relative did not experience a decrease in grooming rate and number of grooming partners; instead, both grooming rate and number of grooming partners increased after a relative's death. While the death of a close relative was clearly stressful over the short term, females appeared to compensate for this loss by broadening and strengthening their grooming networks. Perhaps as a result, females' GC levels soon returned to baseline. Even in the presence of familiar troop-mates and other relatives, females experienced a stress response when they lost specific companions, and they apparently sought to alleviate it by broadening and strengthening their social relationships.

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    • "The endocrine consequences of social buffering were first described in primates (Coe et al., 1978; Mendoza et al., 1978) and primate studies continue to be important particularly for our understanding of natural social buffering in the context of stress. For example in female Chacma baboons, loss of a partner results in elevated CORT and also in enhanced social behaviors such as allogrooming which may help mediate the decline to baseline levels (Engh et al., 2006). Studies of social manipulations in rodents have also played a pivotal role in our understanding of social support on a variety of behavioral, endocrine, and neurobiological outcomes (reviewed in DeVries et al., 2003; Kikusui et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: The neurobiology of stress and the neurobiology of social behavior are deeply intertwined. The social environment interacts with stress on almost every front: social interactions can be potent stressors; they can buffer the response to an external stressor; and social behavior often changes in response to stressful life experience. This review explores mechanistic and behavioral links between stress, anxiety, resilience, and social behavior in rodents, with particular attention to different social contexts. We consider variation between several different rodent species and make connections to research on humans and non-human primates.
    01/2015; 1(1):116-127. DOI:10.1016/j.ynstr.2014.10.004
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    • "As we begin to uncover the many benefits associated with close affiliative relationships (Brent et al. 2011; Crockford et al. 2008; Schülke et al. 2010; Silk et al. 2009, 2010), it becomes increasingly important to identify the factors that determine why individuals form bonds with some group-mates but not others. For example, many female cercopithecines focus on one to three primary, or preferred relationships, spending any extra social time on secondary or " casual " relationships (Crockford et al. 2008; Dunbar and Dunbar 1988; Engh et al. 2006; Nakamichi and Shizawa 2003; Range and Noë 2002; Silk et al. 2012). Among female-philopatric species, the most consistent factors that characterize preferred social partners are 1) dominance rank (Range and Noë 2002; Seyfarth 1976, 1977), 2) kinship (Chapais et al. 2001; Silk et al. 1999, 2010), or 3) both (Bernstein and Ehardt 1985; Perry et al. 2008; Schino 2001; Schülke et al. 2013; Silk et al. 2006a,b). "
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    ABSTRACT: In many primates, close social relationships are associated with lower stress, better health, and increased life span. However, individuals do not form bonds indiscriminately; rather, they focus on a few primary partners. This suggests that the identity of the partner may be as important as the bond itself. Although dominance and kinship have repeatedly emerged as salient predictors of female relationships, most of this research comes from species with multimale, multifemale groups and strict dominance hierarchies. Further, kinship was typically determined based on either behavior or on known mother–daughter relationships alone. To understand the generality of previous findings, we use behavioral and genetic sampling to examine whether dominance rank and/or genetic relatedness mediate female social bonds in geladas (Theropithecus gelada) living in the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. First, we found that, even though females in the same unit are closely related, female geladas still preferentially bond with the closest of these relatives. Second, females that were close kin formed the strongest bonds with females of similar rank to themselves. Finally, rank disparity predicted grooming rates but did not predict whether females were nearest neighbors. This suggests that, in contrast with data from other cercopithecines, spatial proximity among females may be less indicative of strong social bonds for geladas, a species that routinely exhibits a high degree of spatial overlap with extra-unit individuals. Together, these results highlight the importance of combining genetic data with detailed behavioral observations to help us understand how individuals choose and interact with social partners.
    International Journal of Primatology 02/2014; 35(1). DOI:10.1007/s10764-013-9733-5 · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    • "In wild baboons, females have been shown to compensate for the permanent loss of close social partners by broadening and strengthening their social networks (Engh et al. 2006). Female rhesus macaques may similarly increase the strength of their connections during the mating season to compensate for temporary shifts in the availability of some of their close social partners due to consortships, which could result in social structures that are more tightly connected in the mating season than in the birth season, when consortships are absent. "
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    ABSTRACT: Social structure emerges from the patterning of interactions between individuals and plays a critical role in shaping some of the main characteristics of animal populations. The topological features of social structure, such as the extent to which individuals interact in clusters, can influence many biologically important factors, including the persistence of cooperation, and the rate of spread of disease. Yet, the extent to which social structure topology fluctuates over relatively short periods of time in relation to social, demographic, or environmental events remains unclear. Here, we use social network analysis to examine seasonal changes in the topology of social structures that emerge from socio-positive associations in adult female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Behavioral data for two different association types (grooming and spatial proximity) were collected for females in two free-ranging groups during two seasons: the mating and birth seasons. Stronger dyadic bonds resulted in social structures that were more tightly connected (i.e., of greater density) in the mating season compared to the birth season. Social structures were also more centralized around a subset of individuals and more clustered in the mating season than those in the birth season, although the latter differences were mostly driven by differences in density alone. Our results suggest a degree of temporal variation in the topological features of social structure in this population. Such variation may feed back on interactions, hence affecting the behaviors of individuals, and may therefore be important to take into account in studies of animal behavior.
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 03/2013; 67:349-359. DOI:10.1007/s00265-012-1455-8 · 2.35 Impact Factor
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