Thad Bartlett, Ph.D
My primary research interest is in the behavioral ecology of living primates. Behavioral ecology focuses on how individuals adapt to constraints imposed by physical and social environments. To be successful in an evolutionary sense, animals have to cope, minimally, with three problems: finding food, avoiding predators, and finding reproductive partners. Solutions to these problems will differ under differing ecological conditions and one goal of primatology is to document patterns of response across species in order to better understand the principles that guide primate adaptation and evolution. Under the umbrella of primate behavioral ecology I have focused in particular on the role of food availability in shaping primate behavior and social structure. My exploration of this topic has taken two very different tracks, first, through the study of foraging behavior and resource competition in wild primates and, second, through controlled studies of maternal undernutrition and progeny outcomes in captive baboons. Most recently, I have begun to focus on the applied dimensions of primate ecology. I am currently working with colleagues in Thailand and Malaysia to document gibbon density and distribution in human modified landscapes.