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Photo: Brenda McCowan

Brenda McCowan- BS, PhD
Population Health & Reproduction

4205 VM3B
Davis, CA 95616

+1 530 754 7373


Research Focus

Animal health, management and well-being; Wildlife conservation; Bioacoustics; Ethology

Specialty Focus

Social networks and health


1985 BS , Cornell University, Ithaca, NY,
1994 PhD , Harvard University, Cambridge, MA,

Honors and Awards

1992 Award of Teaching Excellence, Harvard University
1985 Honors Program Graduate, Cornell University

Active Research Grants

Principal Investigator, Behavioral management of deleterious aggression in rhesus macaques, (Principal Investigator), National Institutes of Health

Principal Investigator, Expanding the utility of social network analysis for multilevel health outcomes, (Principal Investigator), National Institutes of Health

Most Recent 10 Publications

  • Link Icon 2014 Vandeleest , J. Hannibal, D., Barnard, A., Beisner, B., McCowan, B Trends in the field of mammalian social behavior and health over the last 20 years Intl J Comp Psych,
  • Link Icon 2014 Fushing, H., Jordan, O., Beisner, B., McCowan, B Computing systemic risk using multiple behavioral and keystone networks: The emergence of a crisis in primate societies and banks International Journal of Forecasting.,
  • Link Icon 2014 VanderWaal, K., Atwill, R. A., Isbell, L. and McCowan, B Quantifying pathogen transmission networks for wild and domestic ungulates in Kenya ,
  • Link Icon 2014 Hennessy, M. B., McCowan, B., Jiang, J., Capitanio, J. P. Depressive-like behavioral response of adult male rhesus monkeys during routine animal husbandry procedure Front Behav Neurosci,
  • Link Icon 2014 Kershenbaum, A., Blumstein, D. T., Roch, M. A., Akcay, C., Backus, G., Bee, M. A., Bohn, K., Cao, Y., Carter, G., Casar, C., Coen, M., DeRuiter, S. L., Doyle, L., Edelman, S., Ferrer, I. Cancho R., Freeberg, T. M., Garland, E. C., Gustison, M., Harley, H. E., Huetz, C., Hughes, M., Hyland Bruno, J., Ilany, A., Jin, D. Z., Johnson, M., Ju, C., Karnowski, J., Lohr, B., Manser, M. B., McCowan, B., Mercado, E., 3rd, Narins, P. M., Piel, A., Rice, M., Salmi, R., Sasahara, K., Sayigh, L., Shiu, Y., Taylor, C., Vallejo, E. E., Waller, S., Zamora-Gutierrez, V. Acoustic sequences in non-human animals: a tutorial review and prospectus Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc,
  • Link Icon 2014 Li, X., Watanabe, N., Xiao, C., Harter, T., McCowan, B., Liu, Y., Atwill, E. R. Antibiotic-resistant E. coli in surface water and groundwater in dairy operations in Northern California Environ Monit Assess,
  • Link Icon 2014 Brunelli, R. L., Blake, J., Willits, N., Rommeck, I., McCowan, B. Effects of a mechanical response-contingent surrogate on the development of behaviors in nursery-reared rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci,
  • Link Icon 2014 Beisner, B. A., McCowan, B. Signaling context modulates social function of silent bared-teeth displays in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) Am J Primatol, doi: 10.1002/ajp.22214,
  • Link Icon 2014 Beisner, B. A., Heagerty, A., Seil, S. K., Balasubramaniam, K. N., Atwill, E. R., Gupta, B. K., Tyagi, P. C., Chauhan, N. P., Bonal, B. S., Sinha, P. R., McCowan, B. Human-wildlife conflict: Proximate predictors of aggression between humans and rhesus macaques in India Am J Phys Anthropol, doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22649,
  • Link Icon 2013 Vanderwaal, K., Atwill, E. R., Hooper, S. L., Buckle, K. and McCowan, B Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding’s ground squirrels ,

Most Recent 5 Book Chapters

2008 McCowan B, Doyle L, Hanser S, Kaufman A, Burgess C: Detection and estimation of complexity and contextual flexibility in nonhuman animal communication, , The Evolution of Communication Flexibility, MIT Press, Cambridge. (Change in Title to Professor, Step 1, effective 05/01/2012). .

2004 Hanser S, Doyle L, McCowan B, Jenkins J: Information theory applied to animal communication systems and its possible application to SETI, , Bioastronomy 2002: Life Among the Stars,, San Francisco. .

2000 Hanser S, McCowan B, Doyle LR: Information theory as a comparative measure of animal communication complexity, Lemaechand GA, Meech KJ, (ed), Bioastronomy 1999: A New Era in Bioastronomy, San Francisco. 613-617.

1997 McCowan B, Reiss D: Vocal learning in captive bottlenose dolphins: a comparison to humans and nonhuman animals, Snowdon CT, Hausberger M, (ed), Social Influences on Vocal Development, Cambridge. 178-207.

External Links

McCowan Animal Behavior Lab