Fred B. Bercovitch

(former CICASP Professor 2010-2017)



My work focuses on identifying factors regulating variation in reproductive success among animals. To achieve that goal, I have conducted studies on a number of species, both in captivity and in the wild. Research species have included lesser galagos, savanna baboons, rhesus macaques, African wild dogs, giraffe, African elephants, koalas, cheetahs, California condors, and Nile lechwe. My major areas of study include:

  • Mapping the development and maintenance of social relationships among animals
  • Deciphering the endocrinological mechanisms regulating behavior and the behavioral profiles influencing hormone concentrations
  • Establishing the extent to which alternative reproductive tactics are productive
  • Integrating evolutionary and conservation biology as a means of designing scientific conservation management plans aimed at ecosystems preservation
  • Using a comparative wildlife biology framework for increasing our understanding of the evolution of human social behavior and social systems


B. A.    University of California, Berkeley    (1973)
M.A.    Arizona State University, Tempe        (1976)
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles    (1985)
[Dissertation title:  "Reproductive Tactics in Adult Female and Adult Male Olive Baboons"]

After spending a few years in Kenya working on my Ph.D. research, I was awarded an NIH Postdoctoral Traineeship in Developmental Neurobiology and Primate Endocrinology at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Upon completion of my Postdoc, I became a Senior Scientist at the Caribbean Primate Research Center in Puerto Rico. I then moved to San Diego, California to accept a position as Director of Behavioral Biology at the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species. Since 2010, I have been a Professor at CICASP.

Selected Publications

  • Bercovitch FB and Berry PSM (2013) Herd composition, kinship and fission–fusion social dynamics among wild giraffe. Afr. J. Ecology 51: 206-216.
  • Bercovitch FB (2013) Giraffe cow reaction to the death of her newborn calf. Afr. J. Ecology 51: 376–379.
  • Berry PSM, Bercovitch FB (2012) Darkening coat colour reveals life history and life expectancy of male Thornicroft’s giraffes. J. Zool.
  • Rothwell ES, Bercovitch FB, Andrews J, Anderson MJ (2011) Estimating daily walking distance of captive African elephants using an accelerometer. Zoo Biol. 30: 579-591.
  • Higgins AL, Bercovitch FB, Tobey JR, Andrus CH (2011) Dietary specialization and Eucalyptus species preferences in Queensland koalas. Zoo Biol. 30: 52-58.
  • Ellis W, Bercovitch F, FitzGibbon S, Roe P, Wimmer J, Melzer A, Wilson R (2011) Koala bellows and their association with the spatial dynamics of free ranging koalas. Behav. Ecol. 22: 372-377.
  • Ellis W, Bercovitch FB (2011) Body size and sexual selection in the koala. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 65: 1229-1235.
  • Melzer A, Ellis WA, Bercovitch FB (2010) Observations of male-on-male aggression among Queensland koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) from Central Queensland. Queensland Naturalist 48: 36-44.
  • Ellis B, Bercovitch F, FitzGibbon S, Melzer A, de Villiers D, Dique D (2010) Koala birth seasonality and sex ratios across multiple sites in Queensland, Australia. J. Mammal. 91: 177-182.
  • Bercovitch FB and Berry PSM (2010) Reproductive life history of Thornicroft’s giraffe in Zambia. Afr. J. Ecology 48: 535-538.
  • Bercovitch FB, Andrews J (2010) Developmental milestones among African elephant calves on their first day of life. Zoo Biol. 29: 120-126.
  • Bercovitch FB, Berry PSM (2010) Ecological determinants of herd size in the Thornicroft’s giraffe in Zambia. Afr. J. Ecology 48: 962-971.
  • Ellis WAH, Melzer A, Bercovitch FB (2009) Spatiotemporal dynamics of habitat use by koalas. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 63: 1181-1188.
  • Tobey JR, Nute TR, Bercovitch FB (2009) Age and seasonal changes in sternal gland steriochemical secretions of male koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Australian J. Zool. 57: 111-118.
  • Bercovitch FB, Loomis CP, Rieches RG (2009) Age-specific changes in reproductive effort and terminal investment in female Nile lechwe. J. Mammal. 90:40-46.


Fred B. Bercovitch, Ph. D.
Center for International Collaboration and Advanced Studies in Primatology
Kyoto University Primate Research Institute
41-2 Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan 484-8506
Fax: +81 (0)568-61-1050