Martin Surbeck

Dr. Martin Surbeck

Assistant Professor
Martin Surbeck

My research focusses mainly on questions related to aspects of competition and cooperation within and between groups. I make use of our closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees as referential models, to infer about potential selective pressures and existing predisposition in our evolutionary past. Of particular interest to me is the fascinating social system of bonobos and the question, what selection pressures were responsible to differentiate this species from the better-known chimpanzees. In my research lab we often use a comparative approach and mainly work with data from wild populations to get an integral understanding of a wide range of social traits. In the beginning of 2016, I established a new bonobo research site at Kokolopori in collaboration with Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) and Vie Sauvage. Through insights from this new site we anticipate contributing to a better understanding of behavioural diversity within bonobos. Currently we follow daily three habituated neighboring bonobo groups and will gain new insights about mechanism of intergroup tolerance by combining behavioural and endocrinological data.

Contact Information

Peabody Museum 50D
11 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138