Department Sociobiology/Anthropology - Peter Kappeler

Prof. Dr. Peter Kappeler

Curriculum vitae

  • Abitur, Otto-Hahn Gymnasium, Tuttlingen, 1979
  • M.Sc. (Dipl.-Biol.), Dept. Behavioral Physiology, Univ. Tübingen, 1987
  • Ph.D., Dept. Zoology, Duke University, 1992
  • Habilitation, Dept. Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Univ. Würzburg, 1998
  • Professor of Behavioral Ecology, Univ. Leipzig 2003
  • Professor of Sociobiology/Anthropology, Univ. Göttingen, since 2003


My research interests focus on the evolution of social and mating systems, in particular those of primates. Specifically, I am interested in social and ecological factors that determine the distribution of males and females, as well as the resulting consequences for reproductive strategies and genetic population structure. My practical research focuses on 8 sympatric lemur species as well as carnivores, birds and reptiles at Kirindy Forest (Madagascar), where I have been in charge of coordinating research activities since 1995. I primarily work with long-term demographic data in combination with genetic data to illuminate group and population structure. I am also interested in understanding the evolutionary roots of human behavior by adopting a comparative perspective that incorporates insights of studies of primate behavior.


I am a member of the faculty of Zoology and Anthropology at Göttingen University. My teaching focuses on animal behavior, evolution, methodology and evolutionary anthropology. I am also advising and teaching Malagasy students at the University of Madagascar.

Other Positions

  • Elected member of the Expert Panel “Zoology” of the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2008-2015
  • President of the Ethologische Gesellschaft, 2013-2016
  • Vice-President for Research of the International Primatological Society (IPS), 2005-2010
  • Member of the IUCN/Species Survival Commission/Primate Specialist Group, since 2005
  • President of the Gesellschaft für Primatologie (GfP), 2002-2005
  • President of the European Federation of Primatology (EFP), 2002-2005
  • Associate Editor Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (BES), since 1994