Animal Behavior Laboratory

Selected Publications

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Social Networks

McCowan, B., Anderson, K., Heagerty, A. and Cameron, A. (2008). The utility of social network analysis in primate behavioral management. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 109, 396–405.

Beisner, B., Jackson, M., Cameron, A. and McCowan, B. (2010). Effects of natal male alliances on aggression and power dynamics in captive groups of rhesus macaques. American Journal of Primatology (Special Issue) 71:1–12.

Beisner, B., Jackson, M., Cameron, A. and McCowan, B. (2011). Detecting instability in animal social networks: Genetic fragmentation is associated with social instability in rhesus macaques. PLoS ONE 6(1):e1636.

Fushing, H., McAssey, M., Beisner, B., Jackson, M. and McCowan, B. (2011). Ranking network of captive rhesus macaque society: A sophisticated corporative kingdom. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17817.

Fushing, H., McAssey, M., and McCowan, B. (2011). Computing a ranking network with confidence bounds from a graph-based Beta random field. Proc. R. Soc. A doi:10.1098/rspa.2011.0268

McCowan, B., Beisner, B., Capitanio, J., Jackson, M., Cameron, A., Seil, S., Atwill, E. R., and Fushing, H. (2011). Network stability is a balancing act of personality, power, and conflict dynamics in rhesus macaque societies. PLoS ONE 6(8): e22350. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022350.

Makagon, M. M., McCowan, B. and Mench, J.  A. (2012). How can social network analysis contribute to social behavior research in applied ethology? Applied Animal Behavior Science  (Special Issue), 138, 152–161.

Shev, A., Hsieh, F., Beisner, B. and McCowan, B. (2012). Using Markov chain Monte Carlo to visualize and test the linearity assumption of the Bradley-Terry class of models. Animal Behaviour, 84, 1523-1531.

Chan, S., Fushing, H., Beisner, B. A., and McCowan, B. (2013). Joint modeling of multiple social networks to elucidate primate social dynamics: I. Maximum entropy principle and network-based interactions. PLoS One 8(2): e51903. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051903.

Fushing, H., Wang, H., VanderWaal, K. McCowan, B. and Koehl, P. (2013). Clustering by building an ultrametric topology on data points, PLoS One 8(2): e56259. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056259.

VanderWaal, K., Wang, H. , McCowan, B., Hsieh, F. and Isbell, L. (2013). Multilevel social organization and space use in reticulated giraffe (Girala camelopardalis). Behavioral Ecology (2013), 00(00), 1–10. doi:10.1093/beheco/art061.

Vanderwaal, K., Atwill, E. R., Hooper, S. L., Buckle, K. and McCowan, B. (2013). Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding’s ground squirrels. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., DOI 10.1007/s00265-013-1602-x.

VanderWaal, K., Atwill, R. A., Isbell, L. and McCowan, B. (2013). Linking social and pathogen transmission networks using microbial genetics in giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). Journal of Animal Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12137.

VanderWaal, K., Atwill, R. A., Isbell, L. and McCowan, B. (2013). Quantifying pathogen transmission networks for wild and domestic ungulates in Kenya. Biological Conservation, In press.

Beisner, B. and McCowan, B. (2013). Signaling context modulates social function of silent bared‐teeth displays in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). American Journal of Primatology, DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22214.

Beisner, B. and McCowan, B. (2013). Policing in nonhuman primates: partial interventions serve a prosocial conflict management function in rhesus macaques. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77369. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077369.

Animal Welfare & Conservation

Rabin, L., McCowan, B., Hooper, S. and Owings, D. (2003). Anthropogenic noise and its effect on animal communication: An interface between comparative psychology and conservation biology. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 16, 172-192.

McCowan, B., Cardona, C., DiLorenzo, A. M., Jeffrey, J. and Klingborg, D. (2006). Effects of induced molting on the well-being of egg-laying chickens. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 9, 9–23.

McCowan B. and Rommeck, I. (2006). Bioacoustic monitoring of aggression in group-housed rhesus macaques. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 9, 261–26.

Doyle, L., McCowan, B., Hanser, S., Bucci, T., Chyba, C., and Blue, E. (2008). Applicability of information theory to the quantification of responses to anthropogenic noise by Southeast Alaskan humpback whales. Entropy, 10, 33-46.

Rommeck, I., McCowan, B., Anderson, K., Heagerty, A. and Cameron, A. (2009). Risk factors and remediation of self-injurious and self-abuse behavior in rhesus macaques. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 12, 61-72.

Rommeck, I., Gottlieb, D., Strand, S. and McCowan, B. (2009). The effects of four nursery-rearing strategies on the development of self-directed behavior in laboratory-housed rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 408, 395-401.

Oates-O’Brien, R., Farver, T., Anderson-Vicino, K., McCowan, B. and Lerche, N. (2010) Predictors of matrilineal overthrows in large captive breeding groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 49, 196-201.

Minier, D.E., Tatum, L., McCowan, B. (2010). Building positive, human-animal interactions with rhesus macaques. ABMA Wellspring, 11, 2-6.

Rommeck, I., Capitanio, J. P., Strand, S. and McCowan, B. (2011). Early social experience affects behavioral and physiological responsiveness to stressful conditions in infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). American Journal of Primatology 73:1–10.

Vandeleest, J. J., McCowan, B., Capitanio, J. P. (2011). Early rearing interacts with temperament and housing to influence the risk for motor stereotypy in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 132, 81-89.

Gottlieb, D. and McCowan, B. (2011). Assessment of the efficacy of three types of foraging enrichment for rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 50: 1–7.

Blumstein, D. T., Clemins, P., Girod, L., Yao, K., Patricelli, G., Deppe, J. L., Krakauer, A. H., Kirschel, A., Cortopassi, K. A., Hanser, S. F., McCowan, B., Mennill, D. J., and Mantik, A. M. (2011). Acoustic monitoring in terrestrial environments: applications, technological considerations, and prospectus. Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 758–767.

Minier, D. E., Tatum, L., Gottlieb, D. H., Cameron, A., and McCowan, B. (2011). Human-directed contra-aggression training using positive reinforcement with single and multiple trainers for indoor-housed rhesus macaques. Journal of the Applied Animal Behaviour Science 132, 178–186.

Perlman, J. E, Bloomsmith, M. A, Whittaker, M. A., McMillan, J. L, Minier, D. E., and McCowan, B. (2012). Implementing a positive reinforcement animal training program at a large institution. Applied Animal Behavior Science (Special Issue) 137, 114-126.

Beisner, B., Jackson, M., Cameron, A. and McCowan, B. (2012). Sex ratio, conflict dynamics and wounding in rhesus macaques. Applied Animal Behaviour Science (Special Issue), 137, 37– 147.

Gottlieb, D., Coleman, K. and McCowan, B. (2013). The effects of predictability in daily husbandry routines on captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 143, 117– 127.

Gottlieb, D., Capitanio, J. and McCowan, B. (2013). Risk factors for stereotypy and self-abusive behavior in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta); animal’s history, current environment, and personality. American Journal of Primatology, 9999, 1–14.

Animal Communication

Marine Mammals

Reiss, D. and McCowan, B. (1993). Spontaneous vocal mimicry and production by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): evidence for vocal learning. Journal of Comparative Psychology 107 (3):301-312.

McCowan, B. (1995). A new quantitative technique for categorizing whistles using simulated signals and whistles from captive bottlenose dolphins (Delphindae Tursiops truncatus). Ethology 100: 177-193.

McCowan, B. and Reiss, D. (1995). Quantitative comparison of whistle repertoires from captive adult bottlenose dolphins (Delphindae Tursiops truncatus): a re-evaluation of the signature whistle hypothesis. Ethology 100: 193-209.

McCowan, B. and Reiss, D. (1995). Whistle contour development in captive-born infant bottlenose dolphins: role of learning. Journal of Comparative Psychology 109 (3): 242-260.     

McCowan, B. and Reiss, D. (1995). Maternal aggressive contact vocalizations in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): wide-band, low frequency signals during mother/aunt-infant interactions. Zoo Biology 14 (4): 293-310.

Reiss, D., McCowan, B. and Marino, L. (1997). Communicative and other cognitive characteristics of dolphins. Trends in Cognitive Science 1 (4): 140-145.

McCowan, B., Reiss, D. and Gubbins, C. M. (1998). Social familiarity influences whistle acoustic structure in adult female bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals 24: 21-40.

McCowan, B., Hanser, S. F. and Doyle, L. R. (1999). Quantitative tools for comparing animal communication systems: information theory applied to bottlenose dolphin whistle repertoires. Animal Behaviour 57: 409-419.

McCowan, B. and Reiss, D. (1997). Vocal learning in captive bottlenose dolphins: a comparison to humans and nonhuman animals. In C. T. Snowdon and M. Hausberger (eds.) Social Influences on Vocal Development, pp. 178-207. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hanser, S., McCowan, B. and Doyle, L.R. (2000). Information theory as a comparative measure of animal communication complexity. In Bioastronomy 1999: A New Era in Bioastronomy, A.S.P. Conference Series vol. 213, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, G.A. Lemaechand and K. J. Meech, (eds), 613-617.

McCowan, B., Marino, L., Vance, E., Walke, L. and Reiss, D.  (2000). Bubble ring play of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): implications for cognition.  Journal of Comparative Psychology 114: 98-106.

McCowan, B. and Reiss, D. (2001). The fallacy of 'signature whistles' in bottlenose dolphins: a comparative perspective of ‘signature information’ in animal vocalizations. Animal Behaviour 62 (6): 1151-1162.

McCowan, B., Doyle, L. R. and Hanser, S. F. (2002). Using information theory to assess the diversity, complexity and development of communicative repertoires. Journal of Comparative Psychology 116, 166-172.

Hanser, S., Doyle, L. R. McCowan, B. and Jenkins, J. (2004) Information theory applied to animal communication systems and its possible application to SETI. In Bioastronomy 2002: Life Among the Stars, A. S. P. Conference Series vol. 214, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco.

Hooper, S. L., Reiss, D. R., Carter, M. and McCowan, B. (2006). Importance of contextual saliency on vocal imitation by bottlenose dolphins. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 19, 116-128.

McCowan, B., Doyle, L. R., Hanser, S. F., Kaufman, A. and Burgess, C. (2008). Detection and estimation of complexity and contextual flexibility in nonhuman animal communication, In K. Oller and U. Greibel (eds.) Evolution of Communicative Flexibility: Complexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication, pp. 281-303. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. and McCowan, B. (2009). A law of word meaning in dolphin whistle types. Entropy, 11, 688-701.

Doyle, L. R., McCowan, B., Johnston, S., and Hanser, S. F. (2011). Information Theory, Animal Communications, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Acta Astronomica 68: 406–417.

Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. & McCowan, B. (2012). The span of correlations in dolphin whistle sequences. Journal of Statistical Mechanics, P06002. doi: 10.1088/1742-5468/2012/06/P06002 <>.

Other Mammals

McCowan, B. and Newman, J. D. (2000). The role of learning in chuck call recognition by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus). Behaviour 137: 279-300.

McCowan, B., Franceschini, N. V. and Vicino, G. A. (2001). Age differences and developmental trends in alarm peep responses by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus). American Journal of Primatology 53(1): 19-31.

McCowan, B. and Hooper, S. L. (2002). Individual acoustic variation in Belding’s ground squirrel alarm chirps in the High Sierra Nevada. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 111, 1157-1160.

McCowan, B., DiLorenzo, A. M., Abichandani, S., Borelli,C.,  and Cullor, J. S. (2002). Bioacoustic tools for enhancing animal productivity and management: Effects of recorded calf vocalizations on milk production in dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 77, 13-20.

Yin, S. and McCowan, B. (2004). Barking in domestic dogs: Context specificity and individual identification. Animal Behaviour 68, 343-355.

Wood, J. D., McCowan, B., Langbauer, W. R., Viljoen, J. and Hart, L. (2005). Classification of African elephant Loxodonta africana rumbles using acoustic parameters and cluster analysis.  Bioacoustics, 15, 143-161.

Randall, J., McCowan, B., Collins, K., Hooper, S.L., and Rogovin, K. (2005). Alarm signals of the great gerbil: acoustic variation by predator context, sex, age, individual and family group. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 118: 1-9.

Coss, R., McCowan, B. and Ramakrishnan, U. (2007). Threat-related acoustical differences in alarm calls by wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) elicited by python and leopard models. Ethology, 113,  352-367.

Wyman, M. T., Mooring, M. S., McCowan, B., and Hart, L. (2008). Bellow amplitude of bison reflects male quality, motivation, and seasonal condition. Animal Behavior, 76, 1625-1639.

Wyman, M. T., Mooring, M. S., McCowan, B. , Penedo, M. C. T., Reby, D., and Hart, L. A. (2012). Acoustic cues to size and quality in the vocalizations of male American bison (Bison bison). Animal Behaviour, 84, 1381-1391.