Professor Jo Setchell
(email at email@example.com)
Durham Anthropology: People in Context
My research puts people in context by providing a comparative lens through which we can view the evolution of human life history and reproductive strategies. I enjoy working in a broad-based and integrative Anthropology department.
Feedback & consultation hours
2-4 pm Tuesdays, Room 309, Dawson Building
Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter
I am co-author on this article in Science Advances, by an international collaboration of 31 authors, with major press coverage (e.g., BBC Online – top story in science). For a summary and images, please see this website, and for a personal perspective please see this piece in the Conversation.
Evidence that highly competitive males also show mate choice for female genotype:
Setchell JM., Richards S, Abbott K. & Knapp LA. (2016). Mate-guarding by male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) is associated with female MHC-genotype. in press in Behavioral Ecology.
A review of all my work on mandrills to date:
Setchell JM. (2016). Sexual Selection and the Differences Between the Sexes in Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: S105-S129.
A review of our interdisciplinary biosocial approach to conservation and three case studies:
Setchell JM, Fairet E, Shutt K, Waters S & Bell S. (2017). Biosocial conservation: integrating biological and ethnographic methods to study human-primate interactions. International Journal of Primatology 38: 401-426.
Editors choice and free access: Waters S, Bell S & Setchell JM (2018). Understanding Human-Animal Relations in the Context of Primate Conservation: A Multispecies Ethnographic Approach in North Morocco. Folia Primatologica 89: 13-29.
I joined Durham Anthropology in 2007. I have a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, and made the transition into Anthropology gradually, via post-doctoral research at the Centre for Research in Evolutionary Anthropology at Roehampton University and in the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and a temporary lectureship at UCL Anthropology.
At Durham I teach biological and evolutionary anthropology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I obtained my Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in 2008. I won a Durham Student's Union "Super Supervisor" award in 2014 and a University "Excellence in Doctoral Supervision" award in 2015.
I am strongly committed to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in academia, and led our department's successful application for a Gender Equality Charter Mark in 2014. I'm now leading our Athena Swan application.
I serve on the University Senate as an elected representative of the Academic Electoral Assembly. I have served as Director of the MSc in Evolutionary Anthropology, Chair of the Exam Board and Director of Research in Anthropology.
Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Primatology
President, Primate Society of Great Britain
Vice-President (Research) of the International Primatological Society
Editorial Board member, Scientific Data
Co-editor of Field & Laboratory Methods in Primatology, with Debbie Curtis
I pursue two major areas of research. The first integrates behaviour, morphology and demographic studies with genetics, endocrinology and semiochemistry to address questions relating to reproductive strategies, life history, sexual selection and signalling in primates. The majority of this work has focused on a semifree-ranging colony of mandrills at the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon. For more about my long-term studies of mandrills, please see here, and this recent review. I have also conducted primate fieldwork in Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Sabah, Malaysia.
The second area of my research involves collaboration with environmental anthropologists to address questions concerning human/wildlife interactions and biodiversity conservation. We have recently described our interdisciplinary approach and three case studies here.
I have a long-standing interest in the practice and ethics of primate research. I co-edited a book on Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology with an explicit focus on ethics, helped to develop the International Primatological Society's Code of Best Practices in Field Primatology, and have co-authored an article with Elena P Cunnigham and Steve Unwin on "Darting Primates in the Field: A Review of Reporting Trends and a Survey of Practices and Their Effect on the Primates Involved".
For more information about Primatology in Durham, please see Durham Primatology Group.
You can find details of my publications below and on Researchgate.
Information for Prospective Students and Postdocs
I'm happy to supervise interns, MSc, Masters by Research and PhD students in primatology. I can provide training and projects for interns, MSc and Masters by Research students. I am happy to work with applicants who share my research interests to develop a proposal.
There's information about a variety of postdoctoral fellowship opportunities here. I prioritise applications which relate to and build on my own research.
Current Post docs
- Dr Sharon Kessler began a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship on disease recognition in primates in January 2017
- Dr Esther Clarke: COFUND Junior Research Fellowship "Primate vocalisations as sexual signals". Esther is now an Honorary Researcher in Anthropology at Durham.
- Dr Stefano Vaglio: Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships for Career Development "Primate Olfaction". Stefano is now a Lecturer in Animal Behaviour at the University of Wolverhampton and an Honorary Researcher in Anthropology at Durham.
- Dr Rodrigo Moro-Rios: Ciência sem Fronteiras "Phylogenetic reconstruction of ancestral states and diversification of Callitrichidae (Primates) cooperative breeding societies". Rodrigo is now an Honorary Researcher in Anthropology at Durham.
Current Research Students
- Lucy Millington: "How do frugivorous primates use regenerating forest in the Peruvian Amazon Basin?". PhD candidate
- Miles Woodruff: "Reintroduction of Mandrillus sphinx in the Republic of Congo". PhD candidate in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute
- Ingrid Grueso-Dominguez: "Applying geometric morphometrics to the study of discrete dental traits" PhD candidate
- Pedro Mendez-Carvajal: "Conserving primates in highly deforested habitats: a case study in Panama". PhD candidate funded by a Panamanian Government Scholarship. Pedro runs Fundación Pro-Conservación de los Primates Panameños, an NGO dedicated to dedicated the study and conservation of nonhuman primates in Panama.
- Steffi Henkel: "Group recognition via olfactory cues in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)". University of Leipzig (external supervisor)
- Katharine Flach: "The influence of social group composition on the reproductive success and reproductive strategies of females in cooperatively breeding callitrichids" MSc by Research candidate
- Danson K Mwangiri "One Health at the borderlands: Human-baboon interaction in Nthongoni, Eastern Kenya" PhD candidate funded by a Durham Doctoral Scholarship
Completed Research Students
- Emilie Fairet: "Human-wildlife conflict and its implications for the management of protected areas: A case study in Loango National Park, Gabon". Funded by a Durham Doctoral Scholarship. PhD passed December 2012. Emilie went on to work for SFM Safari Gabon, developing eco-tourism projects, and is now is now Programme Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Congo.
- Ben Coleman: "Predator-prey interactions and vigilance landscapes in samango monkeys in South Africa". PhD passed April 2013. Ben went on to be Senior Education Officer at Bristol Zoo, and is now a Lecturer in Animal Management, Reaseheath College.
- Caroline Howlett: "The 2D:4D ratio & social behaviour in female chacma baboons". MSc by Research passed May 2013. Caroline went on to be the primate research coodinator for the Primate & Predator Project and is now studying for her PhD at Kent, extending her work on 2D:4D ratios in primates.
- Kat Shutt: "An interdisciplinary risk assessment of gorilla ecotourism". Funded by a NERC-ESRC interdisciplinary studentship. PhD passed January 2014. Kat is now Programme Manager for Liberia at Flora & Flauna International.
- Sian Waters: "Population Status, Ecology and Conservation of Barbary macaques in the Rif Mountains, Morocco". Funded by the Zoological Society of Edinburgh. PhD passed December 2014. Sian runs Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation.
- Pete Tomlin: "Ontogeny of social behaviour in chacma baboons". PhD candidate funded by a Leverhulme Study Abroad grant. Passed with minor corrections June 2016. Pete went on to do a post-doc at Mondika Gorilla Research Center, Republic of Congo and is now a postdoc at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
- Simone Lemmers: "Stress, life history, and dental development: a histological study of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx)". Awarded April 2018, funded by a Leverhulme Project grant.
- Marie-Claire Pagano: "How do male interactions with infants affect mothers and infants in Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)?" MSc by Research. Awarded Feb 2018.
- Centre Internationale de Recherches Médicales, Franceville, Gabon (long-term, interdisciplinary studies of semi-free-ranging mandrills)
- Dr Leslie A Knapp, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah (MHC genetics of semi-free-ranging mandrills)
- Dr Robin Bernstein, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, USA (the endocrinology of primate growth and development)
- Dr Elena Cunningham, NYU College of Dentistry (darting primates)
- Dr Wendy Dirks, Newcastle Dental School (stress, life history and primate teeth)
Department of Anthropology
- Human-wildlife interactions
- Primate Conservation
- Primate socioecology
- Reproductive strategies
- Secondary sexual traits and signalling in males and females
- Primate behavioural ecology
- Sexual selection
- Life history strategies and phenotypic plasticity
- Setchell, J.M. & Curtis, D.J. (2011). Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide. Cambridge University Press.
- Waters, Siân, Bell, Sandra & Setchell, Joanna M. (2018). Understanding Human-Animal Relations in the Context of Primate Conservation: A Multispecies Ethnographic Approach in North Morocco. Folia Primatologica 89(1): 13-29.
- Setchell, J.M., Fairet, E., Shutt, K., Waters, S. & Bell, S. (2017). Biosocial conservation: integrating biological and ethnographic methods to study human-primate interactions. International Journal of Primatology 38(2): 401-426.
- Waters, Siân, El Harrad, Ahmed, Chetuan, Mohamed, Bell, Sandra & Setchell, Joanna M. (2017). Dogs disrupting wildlife: Domestic dogs harass and kill Barbary macaques in Bouhachem forest, North Morocco. African Primates 12: 55-58.
- Estrada, Alejandro, Garber, Paul A., Rylands, Anthony B., Roos, Christian, Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo, Di Fiore, Anthony, Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola, Nijman, Vincent, Heymann, Eckhard W., Lambert, Joanna E., Rovero, Francesco, Barelli, Claudia, Setchell, Joanna M., Gillespie, Thomas R., Mittermeier, Russell A., Arregoitia, Luis Verde, de Guinea, Miguel, Gouveia, Sidney, Dobrovolski, Ricardo, Shanee, Sam, Shanee, Noga, Boyle, Sarah A., Fuentes, Agustin, MacKinnon, Katherine C., Amato, Katherine R., Meyer, Andreas L. S., Wich, Serge, Sussman, Robert W., Pan, Ruliang, Kone, Inza & Li, Baoguo (2017). Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances 3(1): e1600946.
- Setchell, J., Fernandez-Duque, E. & Higham, J.P. (2016). Editorial: Changes and Clarifications to the Policies of the International Journal of Primatology to Promote Transparency and Open Communication. International Journal of Primatology 37(6): 617-627.
- Setchell, J. M., Richards, S., Abbott, K. M. & Knapp, L. A. (2016). Mate-guarding by male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) is associated with female MHC genotype. Behavioral Ecology 27(6): 1756-1766.
- Setchell, J. M. (2016). Sexual Selection and the Differences Between the Sexes in Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159(S61): S105-S129.
- Setchell, J. M., Smith, T. & Knapp, L. A. (2015). Androgens in a female primate: relationships with reproductive status, age, dominance rank, fetal sex and secondary sexual color. Physiology and Behavior 147: 245-254.
- Cunningham, E.P., Unwin, S. & Setchell, J.M. (2015). Darting primates in the field: A review of reporting trends and a survey of practices and their effect on the primates involved. International Journal of Primatology 36(5): 894-915.
- Howlett, C., Setchell, J.M., Hill, R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2015). The 2D:4D digit ratio and social behaviour in wild female chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in relation to dominance, aggression, interest in infants, affiliation and heritability. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69(1): 61-74.
- Shutt, K., Heistermann, M., Kasim, A., Todd, A., Kalousova, B., Profosouva, I., Petrzelkova, K., Fuh, T., Dicky, J.-F., Bopalanzognako, J.-B. & Setchell, J.M. (2014). Effects of habituation, research and ecotourism on faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in wild western lowland gorillas: Implications for conservation management. Biological Conservation 172: 72-79.
- Fairet, E., Bell, S., Remanda, K. & Setchell, J.M. (2014). Rural emptiness and its influence on subsistence farming in contemporary Gabon: A case study in Loango National Park. Society, Biology and Human Affairs 78(1-2): 39-59.
- Setchell, Joanna M. (2013). Editorial: The Top 10 Questions in Primatology. International Journal of Primatology 34(4): 647-661.
- Setchell, J.M., Abbott, K.M., Gonzalez, J.-P. & Knapp, L.A. (2013). Testing for post-copulatory selection for major histocompatability complex genotype in a semi-free-ranging primate population. American Journal of Primatology 75(10): 1021–1031.
- Bernstein, R.M., Setchell, J.M., Verrier, D. & Knapp, L.A. (2012). Maternal effects and the endocrine regulation of mandrill growth. American Journal of Primatology 74(10): 890-900.
- Shutt, K., Setchell, J.M. & Heistermann, M. (2012). Non-invasive monitoring of physiological stress in the Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): validation of a fecal glucocorticoid assay and methods for practical application in the field. General and Comparative Endocrinology 179(2): 167-177.
- Setchell, J.M., Kendal, J.R. & Tyniec, P. (2011). Do non-human primates synchronise their menstrual cycles? A test in mandrills. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36(1): 51-59.
- Setchell, J.M., Vaglio, S., Abbott, K.M., Moggi-Cecchi, J., Boscaro, F., Pieraccini, G. & Knapp, L.A. (2011). Odour signals major histocompatibility complex genotype in an Old World monkey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278(1703): 274-280.
- Setchell, J.M., Vaglio, S., Moggi-Cecchi, J., Boscaro, F., Calamai, L. & Knapp, L.A. (2010). Chemical composition of scent-gland secretions in an Old World monkey (Mandrillus sphinx): influence of sex, male status, and individual identity. Chemical Senses 35(3): 205-220.
- Setchell, J.M., Charpentier, M.J.E., Abbott, K.M., Wickings, E.J. & Knapp, L.A. (2010). Opposites attract: MHC-associated mate choice in a polygynous primate. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23(1): 136-148.
- Setchell, J.M., Smith, T.E., Wickings, E.J. & Knapp, L.A. (2010). Stress, social behaviour, and secondary sexual traits in a male primate. Hormones and Behavior 58(5): 720-728.
- Setchell, J.M. & Huchard, E. (2010). The hidden benefits of sex: Evidence for MHC-associated mate choice in primate societies. BioEssays 32(11): 940-948.
- Setchell, J.M., Charpentier, M., Abbott, K.A., Wickings, E.J. & Knapp, L.A. (2009). Is brightest best? Testing the Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis in mandrills. International Journal of Primatology 30(6): 825-844.
- Setchell, Joanna M (2017). 60% of primate species now threatened with extinction, says major new study. The Conversation
- Setchell, Joanna M (2015). Got a great relationship? You may want to thank your prehistoric grandmother. The Conversation
- Setchell, Joanna M (2015). Why men are not biologically useless after all …. The Conversation
Available for media contact about:
- Evolution: primate behaviour
- Evolution: sexual selection
- People: Evolution and Biology: animal behaviour