Dr. Julie Duboscq

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow



I am a behavioural biologist interested in the evolution, functions and mechanims of sociality. I mainly study social relationships and social processes in macaques in order to understand how and why they form and maintain relationships. I am also interested in social transmission of behaviour and parasites/pathogens, which is tightly linked to the evolution of sociality. Who transmit what to whom, when, how, according to which rules are all questions I am investigating. The structure of a society greatly influences the patterns of social transmission, but less studied is the other side of that coin, how transmission affects the structure and evolution of society.

  • social transmission
  • costs and benefits of sociality
  • social complexity and dynamics
  • social cognition
  • links between cognition, health and sociality


  • PhD in Natural Sciences (Dr. rer.nat.), University of Göttingen & University of Strasbourg. Financial support: Volkswagen Foundation and Primate Conservation Inc.

title of thesis: “Social tolerance: novel insights from wild female crested macaques, Macaca nigra”, advisors: Antje Engelhardt, German Primate Center, Göttingen & Bernard Thierry, Dpt Ecology, Physiology, Ethology, Strasbourg.

  • MSc in Biology & Psychology, University of Rennes II & University of Tours .

title of thesis: “Early vocal recognition between ewes and new-born lambs in domestic sheep, Ovis aries”, advisors: Pascal Poindron & Frederic Sebe, National Institut of Agronomical Research, Tours.

Current Projects

  • Connecting the dots: linking host behaviour to parasite transmission and infection risk

This is my current JSPS project in collaboration with Andrew MacIntosh & Munehiro Okamoto at Kyoto University Primate Research Institute. The objectives of this project are to use two non-pathogenic common pathogens of rhesus and Japanese macaques, the simian foamy virus SFV and the bacterium E. coli, as markers of contact between individuals. SFV and E. coli are known to express enough genetic diversity that individual strain profiles can be established and their similarity compared. The goal is then to contrast networks of strain sharing and similarity between individuals and networks of affiliation and aggression in order to determine transmission pathways and dynamics.

  • The impact of parasitism on primate health and behaviour

As part of Andrew's on-going long-term project, I am also involved in two studies with students Zhihong Xu and Kenneth Keuk on the relationships between individual social position within their network and level of parasitism in a population of Japanese macaques living on the island of Koshima, in the south of Japan. Part of Kenneth Keuk' s MSc study constituted my first postdoctoral research in collaboration with Cedric Sueur from the Department of Ecology, Physiology, Ethology at the CNRS and University of Strasbourg, France. Theoretically, highly social individuals are expected to encounter a more abundant and diverse parasite community than less social hosts and thus to exert stronger influence on the transmission of parasites through their social networks. Empirically though, a lot of variance still needs to be explained and we are working towards refining our understanding of the existing heterogeneity in social and infection patterns.

  • The Macaca Nigra Project

Finally, I am still involved in the Macaca Nigra Project (MNP https://www.macaca-nigra.org/), a research-conservation-education field project dedicated to the study and conservation of the crested macaques, one of the flagship species of North Sulawesi. Crested macaques are critically endangered due to continuous threats from human expanding population, habitat loss, and hunting so this project is paramount for their survival. My PhD thesis focused on female-female cooperation and competition patterns within the framework of the evolution of interspecific differences in macaques. I am interested in determining what explain their incredible social tolerance compared to other macaque species. I then stayed involved in developping research and helping conservation and education efforts.

Selected Publications

Balasubramaniam K. N., Beisner B. A., Berman C. M., De Marco A., Duboscq J., Koirala S., Majolo B., MacIntosh A. J. J., McFarland R., Molesti S., Ogawa H., Petit O., Schino G., Sosa S., Sueur C., Thierry, B., de Waal, F. B. M., & McCowan, B. 2018. The influence of phylogeny, social style, and sociodemographic factors on macaque social network structure. American Journal of Primatology, 10.1002/ajp.22727.

Duboscq J. 2017. Diffusion studies, in « Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior », Vonk J. & Shackelford T. (eds), Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland. 10.1007/978- 3-319-47829-6_1593-1

Duboscq J., Romano V., Sueur C. & MacIntosh A. 2017. One step at a time in investigating relationships between self-directed behaviours and parasitological, social and environmental variables. Royal Society Open Science, 4: 170461, doi: 10.1098/rsos.170461.

Duboscq J., Neumann C., Perwitasari-Farajallah, D., Agil M., Thierry B. & Engelhardt A. 2017. Degrees of freedom in social bonds of female crested macaques. Animal Behaviour, 123 : 411-426, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.11.010.

Duboscq J., Romano V., Sueur C. & MacIntosh A. 2016. Scratch that itch: revisiting links between self-directed behaviour and parasitological, social and environmental factors in a free- ranging primate. Royal Society Open Science, 3: 160571, doi: 10.1098/rsos.160571.

Duboscq J., Romano V., MacIntosh A. & Sueur C. 2016. Social information transmission : Lessons from studies of social diffusion. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1147, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01147.

Romano V., Duboscq J., Sueur C. & MacIntosh A. 2016. Modelling infection transmission in primate networks to predict centrality-based risk. American Journal of Primatology, 78: 767-779, doi: 10.1002/ajp.22542. IF : 2.0, SJR : 1.1, Q1 Zoology, Evolution, Ecology, Behaviour

Duboscq J., Romano V., Sueur C. & MacIntosh A. 2016. Network centrality and seasonality predict lice load in a social primate. Scientific Reports, 6: 22095, doi: 10.1038/srep22095.

Duboscq J. & Heeb P. 2015. Parasites, pathogènes, et réseaux dans les sociétés animales, in «Analyse des réseaux appliquée à l’Ethologie et à l’Ecologie», Sueur C. (eds), Editions matériologiques, Paris, France. pp. 343-358.

Duboscq J., Bret C. & Sosa S. 2015. Les réseaux chez les primates non humains, in «Analyse des réseaux appliquée à l’Ethologie et à l’Ecologie», Sueur C. (eds), Editions matériologiques, Paris, France. pp. 261-290.

Duboscq J., Agil M., Engelhardt A. & Thierry B. 2014. The function of post-conflict interactions: novel insights from a tolerant species of primate. Animal Behaviour, 87: 107-120, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.10.018.

Duboscq J., Micheletta J., Agil M., Hodges J. K., Thierry B. & Engelhardt A. 2013. Social tolerance in wild female crested macaques, Macaca nigra, in Tangkoko- Batuangus Nature Reserve, Sulawesi, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology, 75: 361-375, doi: 10.1002/ajp.22114.

Micheletta J., Waller B., Panggur M., Neumann C., Duboscq J., Agil M. & Engelhardt A. 2012. Social bonds affect anti-predator behaviour in a tolerant species of macaque, Macaca nigra. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279: 4042–4050, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1470.

Neumann C., Duboscq J., Dubuc C., Ginting A., Irwan A., Agil M., Widdig A. & Engelhardt A. 2011. Assessing dominance hierarchies: validation and advantages of progressive evaluation with Elo- rating. Animal Behaviour, 82: 911–921, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.07.016.

Sèbe F., Duboscq J., Aubin T., Ligout S. & Poindron P. 2010. Early vocal recognition of mother by lambs: contribution of low- and high-frequency vocalizations. Animal Behaviour, 79: 1055-1066, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.01.021

Duboscq J., Neumann C., Perwitasari-Farajallah D. & Engelhardt A. 2008. Daytime birth of a baby crested black macaque (Macaca nigra) in the wild. Behavioural Processes, 79: 81–84, doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2008.04.010. IF : 1.7, SJR : 0.86, Q1 Zoology