Overall conclusion

ConclusionResearch on macaques at PKWS identified Assamese macaques as a highly interesting study species that is different from many other macaques and other primates in important ways. The project is a joint effort of PKWS staff and researchers from Göttingen, Kasetsart, and Khon Kaen University that is coordinated by Julia Ostner and Oliver Schülke. This coordination brings together expertise on forest biology, endocrinology, genetics, behavior, and veterinary science and allows for the complex integration of different aspects of behavioral biology that makes the results so interesting. Macaque research at PKWS is developing into one of the longest running field studies on primates in their natural environment where continuous data are available on details of social behavior, ecology and hormone physiology. A recent conference (Göttinger Freilandtage 2009, Göttingen, Germany) verified that a disproportionately large part of scientific progress in primatology comes from well-coordinated longterm projects. Currently research on Assamese macaques continues along the above mentioned lines and additionally focusses on the cognitive underpinnings of male social bonding as well as social effects on infant development and survival. Crucial but generally understudied factors influencing male and female survival and reproductive success is individual stress and susceptibility to disease (e.g. gastrointestinal parasites). Future efforts of macaque research at PKWS should aim at addressing these issues and how they relate to the aspects of Assamese macaque social behavior that are already better understood.