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Undergraduate courses

Professor Stuart Semple

Professor Stuart Semple

Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology

Department of Life Sciences

Research interests

My main research interests are in the areas of primate behaviour, conservation and welfare. I have a particular interest in primate communication; my work in this field extends from doctoral studies on behavioural deception and macaque vocalizations, to more recent research on language evolution. I collaborate frequently across disciplinary boundaries, on projects that combine approaches from biological anthropology with those from psychology, social anthropology and quantitative linguistics.

Grants awarded

Leverhulme Trust (£285,389) 2013 "Emotional awareness as a basis for social success in a non-human: the domestic horse" (Co-investigator. Principal investigator – Prof Karen McComb, Sussex University)

NC3Rs (£74,433) 2013 "Attention bias: a novel method to assess psychological wellbeing in group-housed non-human primates" (Co-investigator. Principal investigator – Dr Emily Bethell, Liverpool John Moores University)

Leakey Foundation ($10,380) 2008 "Hedonic benefits of grooming in Barbary macaques" (Principal Investigator. Co-Investigator - Dr Julia Lehmann, University of Roehampton)

Darwin Initiative Scoping Award (£2,972) 2006 "Post release monitoring of orangutans in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah" (Principal Investigator. Co-Investigator - Dr Caroline Ross, University of Roehampton)

Wenner Gren Foundation ($9,730) 2005 "Mother-offspring communication in rhesus macaques: the role of bystanders" (Principal Investigator)

Teaching interests

My undergraduate and masters teaching is in the areas of zoology and primatology. I am convener of the MRes Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation.

PhD Students
David Inglis - "Communication and social behaviour of olive baboons"
[Co-supervised with Dr Caroline Ross]

Charlotte Carne - "Modelling approaches to primate conservation"
[Co-supervised with Dr Julia Lehmann]

Laetitia Marechal - "An interdisciplinary anthropological study of primate tourism"
[Co-supervised with Prof Garry Marvin and Prof Ann MacLarnon]

Former PhD Students
James Higham (awarded 2006) - "The reproductive ecology of female olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) at Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria" 
[Co-supervised with Prof Ann MacLarnon and Dr Caroline Ross] 
James is now associate professor at New York University

Chris Sandbrook (awarded 2007) - "Who are the true ecotourists? Evaluating the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda."
[Co-supervised with Prof Katherine Homewood, UCL and Dr Sarah Durant, Institute of Zoology]
Chris now has a lectureship at Cambridge University

Emily Bethell (awarded 2010) - "Cognitive bias in rhesus macaques"
[Co-supervised with Prof Ann MacLarnon and Dr Amanda Holmes]
Emily now has a lectureship at Liverpool John Moores University

Lauren Brent (awarded 2010) - "Stress, reproduction and social behaviour in non-human primates"
[Co-supervised with Prof Ann MacLarnon]
Lauren is now working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke University

Nienke Alberts (awarded 2012) - "Fission-fusion sociality in olive baboons"

[co-supervised with Dr Julia Lehmann]

Nienke is now working as a Lecturer at Univeristy College London



Mohiyeddini C, Bauer S and Semple S (in press) Neuroticism and stress: the role of displacement behaviour. Anxiety, Stress and Coping.

Maijer A and Semple S (in press) Investigating potential effects of the contraceptive Implanon on the behaviour of free-ranging adult female Barbary macaques. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Faulkner SC, Stevenson MD, Verity R, Mustari AH, Semple S, Tosh DG, Le Comber SC (in press) Using geographic profiling to locate elusive nocturnal animals: a case study with spectral tarsiers. Journal of Zoology

Carne C, Semple S, Morrogh-Bernard H, Zuberbühler K, Lehmann J (2014) The risk of disease to great apes: simulating disease spread in orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) association networks. PLoS One 9, e95309

Borg C, Majolo B, Qarro M and Semple, S (2014) A comparison of body size, coat condition and endoparasite diversity of wild Barbary macaques exposed to different levels of tourism. Anthrozoos 27, 49-63

Brent LJN, Semple S, MacLarnon A,Ruiz-Lambides A, Gonzalez-Martinez J and Platt ML (2014) Personality traits in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are heritable but do not predict reproductive output. International Journal of Primatology 35, 188-209

Carne C, Semple S, Morrogh-Bernard H, Zuberbühler K and Lehmann J (2013) Predicting the vulnerability of great apes to disease: the role of superspreaders and their potential vaccination. PLoS ONE 8, e84642.

Tourrand C, Naim O, Bigot L, Cadet C, Cauvin B, Semple S, Montaggioni L and Bruggemann H (2013) Fringing reefs of Reunion island. Part I: Long-term monitoring of two shallow coral reef communities. Atoll Research Bulletin 596, 1-35

Naim O, Tourrand C, Ballesteros E, Semple S, Bigot L, Cauvin B and Montaggioni, L (2013) Fringing reefs of Reunion island. Part II: Long-term monitoring of primary producers. Atoll Research Bulletin 597, 1-36

Naim O, Tourrand C, Faure GF, Bigot L, Cauvin B, Semple S and Montaggioni L (2013) Fringing reefs of Reunion island. Part III: Long-term monitoring of living corals. Atoll Research Bulletin 598, 1-32

Semple, S, Harrison, C and Lehmann, J (2013) Grooming and anxiety in Barbary macaques. Ethology 119, 1-7

Ferrer-i-Cancho R, Hernández-Fernández A, Lusseau D, Agoramoorthy G, Hsu MJ and Semple S (2013). Compression as a universal principle of animal behaviour. Cognitive Science 37, 1565–1578

Alberts N, Semple S and Lehmann J (2013) The effect of filtering on animal networks. In Social Networking: Recent Trends, Emerging Issues and Future Outlook. New York: Nova.

Semple, S, Hsu, MJ, Agoramoorthy G and Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. (2013) The law of brevity in macaque vocal communication is not an artifact of analyzing mean call durations. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 20, 209-217

McFarland, R, MacLarnon, A, Heistermann, M and Semple, S (2013) Physiological stress hormone levels and mating behaviour are negatively correlated in male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Animal Biology 63, 331-341

Wallace EK, Kingston-Jones M, Ford M and Semple S (2013) An investigation into the use of music as potential auditory enrichment for Moloch gibbons (Hylobates moloch). Zoo Biology 32, 423-426

Higham, J and Semple, S, (Editors) (2013). Primate signals. American Journal of Primatology 75

Semple, S and Higham, J (2013) Primate signals: current issues and perspectives. American Journal of Primatology 75, 613-620

Mohiyeddini, C, Bauer, S and Semple, S (2013) Displacement behaviour is associated with reduced stress levels among men but not women. PLoS ONE 8, e56355 

Mohiyeddini, C, Bauer, S and Semple, S (2013) Public self-consciousness moderates the link between displacement behaviour and experience of stress in women. Stress 16, 384-392

Majolo, B, van Lavieren, E, Marechal, L, MacLarnon, A, Marvin, G, Qarro, M and Semple, S (2013) Out of Asia: the singular case of the Barbary Macaque. In The Macaque Connection: Cooperation and Conflict between Humans and Macaques (Radhakrishna, S, Huffman MA & Sinha, A eds)

Mohiyeddini, C and Semple, S (2013) Displacement behaviour regulates the experience of stress in men. Stress 16, 163-171

Brent, LJN, MacLarnon, A, Platt, M and Semple, S (2013) Seasonal changes in the structure of rhesus macaque social networks. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 67, 349-359

Bethell, E, Homes, A, MacLarnon, A and Semple, S (2012) Evidence that emotion mediates social attention in rhesus macaques. PLoS One 7:e44387

Kaburu, SSK, MacLarnon, A, Majolo, B, Qarro, M and Semple, S (2012) Dominance rank and self-scratching among wild female Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). African Zoology 47, 74-79

Buckley, V and Semple, S (2012) Evidence that displacement activities facilitate behavioural transitions in ring-tailed lemurs. Behavioural Processes 90, 433-435 

Carne, C, Semple, S and Lehmann, J. (2012) The effects of climate change on orangutans: a time budget model. In Druyen, LM (Ed) Climate Models. Rijeka: In-Tech Press.  

Gustison, M, MacLarnon, A, Wiper, S and Semple, S (2012) An experimental study of behavioural coping strategies in free-ranging female Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Stress 15, 608-617

Bethell, EJ, Holmes, A, MacLarnon, A and Semple, S (2012) Cognitive bias in a non-human primate: husbandry procedures influence cognitive indicators of psychological wellbeing in captive rhesus macaques. Animal Welfare 21, 185-195

Ellis, JJ, MacLarnon, AM, Heistermann, M and Semple, S (2011) The social correlates of self-directed behaviour and faecal glucocorticoid levels among adult male olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) in Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria. African Zoology 46, 302-308

Fischer, J, Semple, S, Fickenscher, G, Jürgens, R, Kruse, E, Heistermann, M and Amir, O (2011) Do women's voices provide cues of the likelihood of ovulation? The importance of sampling regime. PLoS One 6, e24490 

Moses, K and Semple, S (2011) Primary seed dispersal by the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) in the Manombo forest, southeast Madagascar. Journal of Tropical Ecology 27, 529–538 

Carne, C, Wiper, S and Semple, S (2011) The reciprocation and interchange of grooming, agonistic support, feeding tolerance and aggression in semi-free-ranging Barbary macaques. American Journal of Primatology 73, 1–7 

Maréchal, L, Semple, S, Majolo, B, Qarro, M, Heistermann, M and MacLarnon, A (2011) Impacts of tourism on anxiety and physiological stress levels in wild male Barbary macaques. Biological Conservation 144, 2188–2193 

Brent, LN, Semple, S, Dubuc, C, Heistermann, M and MacLarnon, A (2011) Social capital and physiological stress levels in free-ranging adult female rhesus macaques. Physiology and Behavior 102, 76-83 

Semple, S, Hsu, MJ and Agoramoorthy, G (2010) Efficiency of coding in macaque vocal communication. Biology Letters 6, 469-471 

Reamer, L, Tooze, Z, Coulson, C and Semple, S (2010) Correlates of self-directed and stereotypic behaviours in captive red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus torquatus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 124, 68-74 

Semple, S, Gerald, M and Suggs, D (2009) Bystanders affect the outcome of mother-infant interactions in rhesus macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 276, 2257-2262

Dubuc, C, Brent, L, Accamando, AK, Gerald, MS, MacLarnon, A, Semple, S, Heistermann, M and Engelhardt, A (2009) Sexual skin color contains information about the timing of the fertile phase in free-ranging rhesus macaques. International Journal of Primatology 30, 777-789 

Higham, JP, MacLarnon, AM, Heistermann, M, Ross, C and Semple, S (2009) Rates of self-directed behaviour and faecal glucocorticoid levels are not correlated in wild female olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis). Stress 12, 526-532 

Price, T, Arnold, K, Zuberbühler, K and Semple, S (2009) Pyow but not hack calls of the male putty-nosed monkey (Cercopithcus nictitans) convey information about caller identity. Behaviour 146, 871-888 

Haakonsson, J, and Semple, S (2009) Lateralisation of trunk movements in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Laterality 14, 413 – 422 

Higham, JP, Semple, S, MacLarnon, AM, Heistermann, M and Ross, C (2009) Female reproductive signaling, and male mating behavior, in the olive baboon. Hormones and Behaviour 55, 60-67.

Greeno, N, and Semple, S (2009) Sex differences in vocal communication among adult rhesus macaques. Evolution and Human Behaviour 30, 141-145 

Higham, JP, Heistermann, M, Ross, C, Semple, S, and MacLarnon, AM (2008) The timing of ovulation with respect to sexual swelling detumescence in wild olive baboons. Primates 49, 295-299.

Carder, G and Semple, S (2008) Visitor effects on anxiety in two captive groups of western lowland gorillas. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 115, 211-220 

Higham, JP, MacLarnon, AM, Ross, C, Heistermann, M and Semple, S (2008) Baboon sexual swellings: information content of size and color. Hormones and Behaviour 53, 452-462 

Wiper, S and Semple, S (2007) The function of teeth-chattering in the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus). American Journal of Primatology 69, 1179 - 1188 

Shutt, K, MacLarnon, A, Heistermann, M and Semple, S (2007) Grooming in Barbary macaques: better to give than receive? Biology Letters, 3, 231-233 

Semple, S, and Ross, C (2007) Orangutan post-release monitoring research Phase 2: Tabin Reserve. Report for the Orangutan Appeal UK and Sabah Wildlife Department, Borneo.

Sandbrook, C & Semple, S (2006) The rules and the reality of mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) tracking: how close do tourists get? Oryx 40, 428-433.

Semple, S and McComb, K (2006) The function of female copulation calls in the genus Macaca: insights from the Barbary macaque. In The Barbary macaque: comparative and evolutionary perspectives (J.K. Hodges and J. Cortes, eds). Nottingham: Nottingham University Press.

Weyher, A, Ross, C and Semple, S (2006) A comparison of gastrointestinal parasites in a crop raiding and a wild foraging troop of olive baboons in Nigeria. International Journal of Primatology 27, 1519-1534.

McComb, K and Semple, S (2005) Coevolution of sociality and vocal communication in primates. Biology Letters 1, 381-385

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