Feedbacks between the social environment and group sleep in wild baboons

Supervisor: Dr. Meg Crofoot

We are seeking a doctoral student with field-based research experience and an interest in animal behavior and sleep ecology to join our ERC-funded team studying the social behavior and sleep of wild baboons. The researcher will be based at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the University of Konstanz.

Research: In humans, strong evidence exists for a feedback loop between sleep and social processes: not only does the quality of our social relationships and the presence of close affiliates influence how well we sleep, but sleep itself seems to shape our social cognition, bonds and behavior. Sleep deprivation impairs inhibitory control, emotional regulation and attention to social cues, all of which are central to a group-living animal’s ability to successfully navigate their social environment. Yet despite intense and increasing interest in how feedback between sleep and social behavior shape human societies, the interaction between sleep and sociality remains largely ignored in studies of non-human animals.

The aim of this project is to explore the links between sleep, social cognition, patterns of inter-individual interactions and the structure of relationships in a wild, group-living primate, and test whether poor sleep disrupts group functioning and interferes with animals’ abilities to coordinate behavior and achieve collective goals. By experimentally manipulating the sleep duration of single individuals and entire groups, and combining direct behavioral observation with field-based experiments and high-resolution GPS tracking, we will investigate if sleep deprivation impairs social cognition and affects patterns of social interaction, group coordination and collective movement in wild baboons.

Qualifications:  We are seeking candidates with field-based behavioral research experience and an interest in behavioral ecology, animal cognition, comparative psychology and/or the ecology of sleep. This call is open to candidates from all scientific backgrounds with an MSc or equivalent, who can articulate how their interests and training prepare them for this position. A willingness to do international fieldwork is essential; experience conducting observational research, designing field-based experiments, handling animals, and/or driving 4WD vehicles is desirable. Knowledge of coding languages (e.g., R and Python) is not required, but candidates should have a strong interest in developing programming skills. Strong communication skills, and the ability to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team are also essential.

Funding: is confirmed for 4 years.

Research Statement Instructions:  Applicants should include a research statement that addresses the following points:

  1. Describe your scientific background and research interests, and explain how they relate to the project.
  2. Describe a specific research question you would be interested to tackle using the types of data described in this paper:

Explain how you would go about addressing it, presenting explicit predictions and describing how you would use data to test those predictions

Questions: For further information regarding the position, please contact Meg Crofoot (

The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that are committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply  (Equal opportunity). Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply.

They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact +49 7531 88 4016).


Go to Editor View