Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Alberts, Susan C.
Location Duke University
Primary Field Anthropology
Secondary Field Evolutionary Biology
 Research Interests
Susan Alberts is interested in understanding the function and evolution of social behavior. She and her collaborators work within a framework of integrative socioecology that is sensitive to the interdependencies among social behavior, demography, physiology, genetics, and population structure. This framework is inherently interdisciplinary, encompassing concepts and approaches that are grounded both in biodemography and in evolutionary biology. They have published several important findings about how social status, social relationships, competition, and affiliation influence health and survival outcomes in the Amboseli baboons. In related work, they have identified causes and consequences of differences in status within social hierarchies (a risk factor in human and other social mammals), including documenting nonlinear and density-dependent effects of social status on health and life outcomes. They have also pioneered the study of aging in wild primates, focusing not simply on demographic aging (changes in fertility and survival), but on how behavior and physiological functioning change with age. These results have garnered increasing attention from both biologists and sociologists, and have helped establish the Amboseli baboon population as an emerging model of aging in the wild.

 
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