Alexander Pritchard

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rutgers U.

Grant number

Gr. 9771

Approve Date

October 25, 2018

Project Title

Pritchard, Alexander J., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Variation of Stress Coping: Life in a Socially Complex World,' supervised by Dr. Ryne A. Palombit

ALEXANDER J. PRITCHARD, then a graduate student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received funding in October 2018 to aid research on ‘Variation of Stress Coping: Life in a Socially Complex World,’ supervised by Dr. Ryne A. Palombit. Stress often results from extrinsic challenges associated with unpredictability and lack of control, and can have major consequences for how an organism interacts within its social group. Individual differences in managing such stress have been proposed to reflect evolutionary tradeoffs resulting from outcomes of decision making processes. The coping style and stress reactivity framework offers a compelling way to conceptualize such differences. Between November 2017 and April 2019, the grantee completed a 17-month field study on 44 wild adult olive baboons (Papio anubis) from two groups at a field site in Laikipia, Kenya. The grantee utilized: 1) experiments to quantify coping styles and stress reactivity; 2) surveys of individual monkeys by experienced raters to measure personality traits; 3) focal animal sampling to collect behavioral data for dominance hierarchies, social group structure, and behavioral tendencies; and, 4) fecal sampling to attain concentrations of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites. Labwork was completed in the Laboratory for Primate Dietary Ecology and Physiology, at Rutgers University. The grantee in the process of submitting the work to peer-reviewed journals as four manuscripts. These publication explore how individual differences in the stress response influence the management of psychosocial stress, through social support and uncertainty.