Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies



For many animals, ecological and evolutionary success depends not only on the characteristics or decisions of lone individuals, but also on what happens when groups of individuals come together and interact. These group-level behaviors and traits are important because they can transform the social landscape, giving rise to novel selective pressures that drive the evolution of social complexity. Our research seeks to answer the fundamental question: How do animal societies emerge and function?

We embrace an explicitly collaborative approach to scientific exploration. Our multi-disciplinary team works together to develop new ways of measuring, analyzing and interpreting the behavior of socially complex animal species in ecologically and evolutionarily relevant field settings. Within- and between-species comparison is critical to understanding the causes and consequences of social variation and so we aim to build a common framework for monitoring and analyzing the interactions—from dyad to group to population—that comprise the ‘sociome.’

Decision Making in Social Groups

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Latest news

In a first for wild primates, scientists use ‘Fitbit’ technology on a troop of baboons to reveal the price of sticking together—and who pays the most. more

The troop is on course

July 02, 2021

From the Max Planck Research magazine, Meg Crofoot's research on the compromise that binds a troop of olive baboons more

Study warns that changing climate in the Congo Basin is impacting assessment of the endangered apes more

Dr Natalia Borrego and Genevieve Finerty have been awarded the Collaborative Research Grant (CRG), offered by the Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies at the University of Konstanz / Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, for their project exploring sociality among African lions. more

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