Dr Guy Cowlishaw
Senior Research Fellow
Theme Leader (Behavioural & Population Ecology)
- 2007-: Theme Leader, Institute of Zoology.
- 2004-: Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology.
- 2001-2006: NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology.
- 1998-2001: Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology.
- 1995-1998: ESRC Research Fellow, Anthropology, UCL.
- 1993-1995: Lecturer, Biology, UCL.
- 1989-1993: NERC PhD Student, Anthropology, University College London (UCL).
- 1986-1989: BSc (Hons) student, Zoology, University of Bristol.
Editorial Positions & Professional Affiliations:
Editorial Board, 2006-2011 Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences
Editorial Board, 2003-2011 Biological Reviews
Advisory Board, 2006-2008 Phillip Leverhulme Prizes in Zoology
Editor, 2005-2008 Animal Conservation
Organising Committee, 2005 Student Conference on Conservation Science
Editorial Board, 2002-2004 Animal Conservation
Editorial Board, 1999-2002 Behaviour
Series Editor, 2001-2005 ZSL/CUP Conservation Biology book series
Council member, 1998-2001 Primate Society of Great Britain
My research interests encompass and integrate behaviour, ecology, and conservation. Much of my work in conservation also takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining both biological and anthropological perspectives. I currently run three research programmes, each of which includes a suite of projects, related to desert baboons, the African bushmeat trade, and species extinctions.
The Tsaobis Baboon Project
I am the founder and director of the Tsaobis Baboon Project . This is a long-term study of the behaviour, ecology, and genetics of a desert baboon population. Research at Tsaobis began in 1990-1991, and has continued on an annual basis since 2000. Recent research topics have included leadership and group coordination (e.g. King et al. 2008, 2009), sexual signalling and mate choice (e.g. Huchard et al. 2009, 2010), and social foraging (e.g. Rands et al. 2008, 2006). Our work also considers wider aspects of the environment and processes of change (most recently through the Swakop River Woodlands and Wildlife Project). This work is carried out with a variety of national and international collaborators, currently including three UK PhD students (Harry Marshall, Caitlin Douglas, Alex Lee) and two international PhD students (Julio Benavides, Alecia Carter). Further information is available on the Tsaobis Baboon Project webpage.
The Bushmeat Research Programme
I am the co-founder and co-director of the Bushmeat Research Programme (with Dr Marcus Rowcliffe). The aim of this interdisciplinary programme is to obtain a better understanding of the bushmeat trade, in order to protect species from extinction and to ensure a sustainable harvest for local people. Recent studies have focussed on economic and livelihood incentives (e.g. Kümpel et al. 2010a, Cowlishaw 2007), biological sustainability (e.g. Kümpel et al. 2008, 2010b), the impact of armed conflict (e.g. de Merode et al. 2007), and how best to monitor hunter offtake (e.g. Rist et al. 2008, 2010). To date, we have worked in more than 12 projects across eight different countries in west and central Africa. This work is carried out with a variety of collaborators, currently including three PhD students (Helen Cross, Olly Hymas, and James McNamara). Further information is available on the Bushmeat Research Programme webpage.
The Dynamics of Species Extinctions
My third research programme uses primates as a model system to explore the underlying processes that lead to species population declines and extinctions. Recent studies have investigated why a given species can show such a variable pattern of population decline, both to different anthropogenic threat processes (Isaac & Cowlishaw 2004) and to the same threat process across different sites (Cowlishaw et al. 2009). This programme of work has also produced a book, Primate Conservation Biology (Cowlishaw & Dunbar 2000). This research is carried out with a variety of collaborators, currently including two PhD students (Eric Ameca y Juarez, Jessica Bryant).
The Tsaobis Baboon Project
2012 (last updated Dec 2011)
Benavides J, Huchard E, Pettorelli N, King AJ, Brown ME, Archer CE, Appleton CC, Raymond M, Cowlishaw G (2012) From parasite encounter to infection: multiple-scale drivers of parasite richness in a wild social primate. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147: 52-63.
Carter AJ, Marshall HH, Heinsohn R, Cowlishaw G. Evaluating animal personalities: do observer assessments and experimental tests measure the same thing? Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology [online early]
Huchard E, Cowlishaw G (2011) Female-female aggression around mating: an extra cost of sociality in a multimale primate society. Behavioural Ecology 22: 1003-1011.
King AJ, Clark FE, Cowlishaw G (2011) The dining etiquette of desert baboons: the roles of social bonds, kinship, and dominance in co-feeding networks. American Journal of Primatology 73: 768-774.
King AJ, Sueur C, Huchard E, Cowlishaw G (2011) A rule-of-thumb based on social affiliation explains collective movements in desert baboons. Animal Behaviour 82: 1337-1345.
Meise K, Keller C, Cowlishaw G, Fischer J (2011) Sources of acoustic variation: implications for production specificity and call categorization in chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) grunts. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 129: 1631-1641.
Rands SA, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2011) State-dependent foraging rules for social animals in selfish herds. In Anil Seth, Tony Prescott & Joanna Bryson (eds) Modelling Natural Action Selection. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. [reprinted from Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 271: 2613-2620.]
Célérier A, Huchard E, Alvergne A, Féjan D, Plard F, Cowlishaw G, Raymond M, Knapp LA & Bonadonna F (2010) Detective mice assess relatedness in baboons using olfactory cues. Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 1399-1405. [with commentary]
Huchard E, Alvergne A, Féjan D, Knapp LA, Cowlishaw G & Raymond M (2010) More than friends? Behavioural and genetic aspects of heterosexual associations in wild chacma baboons. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 64: 769-781.
Huchard E, Knapp LA, Wang J, Raymond M & Cowlishaw G (2010) MHC, mate choice and heterozygote advantage in a wild social primate. Molecular Ecology 19: 2545-2561.
Huchard E, Raymond M, Benavides J, Marshall H, Knapp LA & Cowlishaw G (2010) A female signal reflects MHC genotype in a social primate. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 96.
Wang J, Brekke P, Huchard E, Knapp L, & Cowlishaw G (2010) Estimation of parameters of inbreeding and genetic drift in populations with overlapping generations. Evolution 64: 1704-1718.
Alvergne A, Huchard E, Caillaud D, Charpentier MJE, Setchell JM, Ruppli C, Fejan D, Martinez L, Cowlishaw G & Raymond M (2009) Human ability to visually recognize kin within primates. International Journal of Primatology 30: 199-210.
Huchard E, Benavides J, Setchell J, Charpentier MJE, Alvergne A, King A, Knapp LA, Cowlishaw G & Raymond M (2009). The importance of shape in sexual signals: evidence from primate sexual swellings. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 63: 1231-1242.
Huchard E, Courtiol A, Benavides J, Knapp LA, Raymond M & Cowlishaw G (2009) Can fertility signals lead to quality signals? Insights from the evolution of primate sexual swellings. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 276: 1889-1897.
King AJ & Cowlishaw G (2009a) Feeding benefits drive interspecific associations between rock kestrels and desert baboons. Journal of Zoology 277: 111-118.
King AJ & Cowlishaw G (2009b) Leaders, followers, and group decision-making. Communicative and Integrative Biology 2: 2.
King AJ & Cowlishaw G (2009c) All together now: behavioural synchrony in baboons. Animal Behaviour 78: 1381-1387.
King AJ, Isaac NJB & Cowlishaw G (2009) Ecological, social, and reproductive factors shape producer-scrounger dynamics in baboons. Behavioral Ecology 20: 1039-1049.
Huchard E, Weill M, Raymond M, Cowlishaw G & Knapp LA (2008) Polymorphism, haplotype composition, and selection in the Mhc-DRB of wild baboons. Immunogenetics 60: 585-598.
King AJ, Douglas C, Huchard E, Isaac N & Cowlishaw G (2008) Dominance and affiliation mediate despotism in a social primate. Current Biology 18: 1833-1838. [with commentary]
Rands SA, Cowlishaw G, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Johnstone RA. (2008) The emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs when the qualities of individuals differ. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 51.
King A & Cowlishaw G (2007) When to use social information: the advantage of large group size in individual decision making. Biology Letters 3: 137-139.
Huchard E, Cowlishaw G, Raymond M, Weill M & Knapp LAP (2006) Molecular study of Mhc-DRB in wild chacma baboons reveals high variability and evidence for transpecies inheritance. Immunogenetics 58: 805-816.
Rands SA, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2006) Social foraging and dominance relationships: the effects of socially-mediated interference. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 60: 572-581.
Cowlishaw G, Lawes MJ, Lightbody M, Martin A, Pettifor R & Rowcliffe JM (2004) A simple rule for the costs of vigilance: empirical evidence from a social forager. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 271: 27-33.
Rands SA, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2004) State-dependent foraging rules for social animals in selfish herds. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 271: 2613-2620.
Rands SA, Cowlishaw G, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Johnstone RA (2003) The spontaneous emergence of leaders and followers in foraging groups. Nature 423: 432-434.
Cowlishaw G (1999b) Ecological and social determinants of spacing behaviour in desert baboon groups. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 45: 67-77.
Cowlishaw G (1998) The role of vigilance in the survival and reproductive strategies of desert baboons. Behaviour 135: 431-452.
Cowlishaw G (1997a) Trade-offs between foraging and predation risk determine habitat use in a desert baboon population. Animal Behaviour 53: 667-686.
Cowlishaw G (1997b) Refuge use and predation risk in a desert baboon population. Animal Behaviour 54: 241-253.
Cowlishaw G (1997c) Alarm calling and implications for risk perception in a desert baboon population. Ethology 103: 384-394.
Cowlishaw G & Davies JG (1997) Flora of the Pro-Namib Desert Swakop River Catchment: community classification and implications for desert vegetation sampling. Journal of Arid Environments 36: 271-290.
Cowlishaw G (1995) Behavioural patterns during baboon group encounters: the role of resource competition and male reproductive strategies. Behaviour 132: 75-86.
Cowlishaw G (1994) Vulnerability to predation in baboon populations. Behaviour 131: 293-304.
O'Connell SM & Cowlishaw G (1994) Infanticide avoidance, sperm competition and mate choice: the function of copulation calls in female baboons. Animal Behaviour 48: 687-694.
The Bushmeat Research Programme
Allebone-Webb SM, Kümpel NF, Rist J, Cowlishaw G, Rowcliffe JM & Milner-Gulland EJ (2011) Use of market data to assess bushmeat hunting sustainability in Equatorial Guinea. Conservation Biology 25: 597-606.
Kümpel NF, Milner-Gulland EJ, Cowlishaw G & Rowcliffe JM (2010a) Incentives for hunting: the role of bushmeat in the household economy in rural Equatorial Guinea. Human Ecology 38: 251-264.
Kümpel NF, Milner-Gulland EJ, Cowlishaw G & Rowcliffe JM (2010b) Assessing sustainability at multiple scales in a rotational bushmeat hunting system. Conservation Biology 24: 861-871.
Rist J, Milner-Gulland EJ, Cowlishaw G & Rowcliffe JM (2010) Hunter reporting of catch per unit effort as a monitoring tool in a bushmeat harvesting system. Conservation Biology 24: 489-499.
Kümpel NF, Rowcliffe JM, Cowlishaw G & Milner-Gulland EJ (2009) Trapper profiles and strategies: insights into sustainability from hunter behaviour. Animal Conservation 12: 531-539.
Rist J, Milner-Gulland EJ, Cowlishaw G, & Rowcliffe JM (2009) The importance of hunting and habitat in determining the abundance of tropical forest species. Biotropica 41: 700-710.
Kümpel N, Milner-Gulland EJ, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2008) Impact of gun hunting on diurnal primates in continental Equatorial Guinea. International Journal of Primatology 29: 1065-82.
Rist J, Rowcliffe JM, Cowlishaw G, & Milner-Gulland EJ (2008) Evaluating measures of hunting effort in a bushmeat hunting system. Biological Conservation 141: 2086-99.
Bennett EL, Blencowe E, Brandon K, Brown D, Burn RW, Cowlishaw G, Davies G, Dublin H, Fa JE, Milner-Gulland EJ, Robinson JG, Rowcliffe JM, Underwood FM & Wilkie DS (2007) Hunting for Consensus: reconciling bushmeat harvest, conservation and development policy in west and central Africa. Conservation Biology 21: 884-887.
Cowlishaw G, Mendelson S & Rowcliffe JM (2007) Livelihoods and sustainability in a bushmeat commodity chain, Ghana. In: Bushmeat and Livelihoods (eds G. Davies & D. Brown), pp. 32-46. Blackwell: Oxford.
de Merode E, Hillman-Smith K, Homewood K, Pettifor RA, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2007) The impact of armed conflict on protected area efficacy in Central Africa. Biology Letters 3: 299-301.
Kümpel NF, East T, Keylock N, Cowlishaw G, Milner-Gulland EJ & Rowcliffe JM (2007) Determinants of bushmeat consumption in Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea: an urban-rural comparison. In: Bushmeat and Livelihoods (eds G Davies & D Brown), pp. 73-91. Blackwell: Oxford.
de Merode E & Cowlishaw G (2006) Species protection, the changing informal economy, and the politics of access to the bushmeat trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Conservation Biology 20: 1262-1271.
Cowlishaw G, Mendelson S & Rowcliffe JM (2005a) Evidence for post-depletion sustainability in a mature bushmeat market. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 460-468.
Cowlishaw G, Mendelson S & Rowcliffe JM (2005b) Structure and operation of a bushmeat commodity chain in Southwestern Ghana. Conservation Biology 19: 139-149.
Rowcliffe JM, Milner-Gulland EJ & Cowlishaw G (2005) Do bushmeat consumers have other fish to fry? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20: 274-276.
de Merode E, Homewood K & Cowlishaw G (2004) The value of bushmeat and other wild foods to rural households living in extreme poverty in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Biological Conservation 118: 573- 581.
Rowcliffe JM, de Merode E & Cowlishaw G (2004) Do wildlife laws work? Species protection and the application of a prey choice model to poaching decisions. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 271: 2631-2636.
Cowlishaw G (2003) A dish to die for. Nature 424: 131.
Mendelson S, Cowlishaw G & Rowcliffe JM (2003) Anatomy of a bushmeat commodity chain in Takoradi, Ghana. The Journal of Peasant Studies 31: 73-100.
Milner-Gulland EJ, Bennett EL & the SCB Wild Meat Group (2003) Wild meat – the bigger picture. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18: 351-357.
Rowcliffe JM, Cowlishaw G & Long J (2003) A model of human hunting impacts in multi-prey communities. Journal of Applied Ecology 40: 872-889.
The Dynamics of Species Extinctions
Ameca Y Juarez EI, Mace GM, Cowlishaw G, Pettorelli N. Natural population die-offs: causes and consequences for terrestrial mammals. Trends in Ecology and Evolution [online early]
Cowlishaw G, Pettifor RA & Isaac NJB (2009) High variability in patterns of population decline: the importance of local processes in species extinctions. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 276: 63-69.
Anderson J, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2007a) Does the matrix matter? A forest primate in a complex agricultural landscape. Biological Conservation 135: 212-222.
Anderson J, Rowcliffe JM & Cowlishaw G (2007b) The Angola black-and-white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) in Kenya: historical range contraction and current conservation status. American Journal of Primatology 69: 664-680.
Anderson J, Cowlishaw G & Rowcliffe JM (2007) Forest fragmentation and habitat quality: effects on the abundance of the Angolan black-and-white colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis palliatus) in Kenya’s coastal forests. International Journal of Primatology 28: 637-655.
Isaac NJB & Cowlishaw G (2004) How species respond to multiple extinction threats. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences 271: 1135-1141.
Cowlishaw G & Dunbar RIM (2000) Primate Conservation Biology. Chicago University Press: Chicago.
Mace GM, Balmford A, Boitani L, Cowlishaw G, Dobson AP, Faith DP, Gaston KJ, Humphries CJ, Lawton JH, Margules CR, May RM, Nicholls AO, Possingham HP, Rahbek C, van Jaarsveld AS, Vane-Wright RI & Williams PH (2000) It’s time to work together and stop duplicating conservation efforts… Nature 405: 393
Purvis A, Gittleman JL, Cowlishaw G & Mace GM (2000) Predicting extinction risk in declining species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 267: 1947-1952.
Cowlishaw G (1999) Predicting the pattern of decline of African primate diversity: an extinction debt from historical deforestation. Conservation Biology 13: 1183-1193.
Hacker JE, Cowlishaw G & Williams PH (1998). Patterns of African primate diversity and their evaluation for the selection of conservation areas. Biological Conservation 84: 251-262.
Cowlishaw G & Hacker JE (1997) Distribution, diversity and latitude in African primates. The American Naturalist 150: 505-512.
Carbone C, Isaac NJB, Cowlishaw G, & Rowcliffe JM (2007) The scaling of abundance in consumers and their resources: implications for the energy equivalence rule. American Naturalist 170: 479–484.
Cowlishaw G (2006) The greatest of apes. Science 311: 1714.
Carbone C, Cowlishaw G, Isaac NJB & Rowcliffe JM (2005) How far do mammals go? Determinants of day range in mammals. American Naturalist 165: 290-297.
Semple S, Cowlishaw G & Bennett PM (2002) Immune system evolution among anthropoid primates: parasites, injuries and predators. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 269: 1031-1038.
Cowlishaw G (1996) Sexual selection and information content in gibbon song bouts. Ethology 102: 272-284.
Cowlishaw G & Mace R (1996) Cross-cultural patterns of marriage and inheritance: a phylogenetic approach. Ethology and Sociobiology (now Evolution and Human Behaviour) 17: 87-97.
Cowlishaw G (1992) Song function in gibbons. Behaviour 121: 131-153.
Cowlishaw G & Dunbar RIM (1991) Dominance rank and mating success in male primates. Animal Behaviour 41: 1045-56.
Current Research Group:
Tsaobis Baboon Project
Alex Lee, 2011-
Caitlin Douglas, 2009-
Harry Marshall, 2008-
Julio Benavides, 2008- (affiliated student, University of Montpellier)
Alecia Carter, 2008- (affiliated student, Australian National University)
Bushmeat Research Programme
James McNamara, 2009-
Helen Cross, 2007-
Olly Hymas, 2007-
Dynamics of Species Extinctions
Jessica Bryant, 2010-
Eric Ameca y Juarez, 2009-
Some Recent Alumni
Nick Isaac, Conservation biology using primates as a model system
Emmanuel de Merode, Bushmeat and protected area management in Congo
Sean Rands, Individual optimisation and social constraints in group foragers
Bjorn Schulte-Herbruggen, completed 2011
Sophie Allebone-Webb, completed 2008
Elise Huchard, completed 2008
Andrew King, completed 2008
Janna Rist, completed 2007
Julie Anderson, completed 2005
Fredi Devas, completed 2005
Noelle Kumpel, completed 2005
T: 020 7449 6697
F: 020 7483 2237
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
London, United Kingdom