Damien Caillaud

Damien Caillaud Portrait

Position Title
Wing Chair and Associate Professor

216 Young Hall
Office Hours
Winter 2024
Monday 9:00am-10:50am


  • Ph.D., Evolutionary biology and ecology, University of Montpellier, France, 2006
  • D.V.M, Nantes Veterinary College, France, 2003
  • M.S., Evolutionary biology and ecology, University of Montpellier, 2003
  • B.S., Population biology and ecology, University of Nantes, 2002


Damien Caillaud is a behavioral ecologist interested in social behavior and movement patterns in Primates and other animals. He has done field work on three gorilla subspecies in Republic of Congo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and has been involved in field research projects on different primate species in Namibia, Madagascar and Panama. He is also a faculty in the UC Davis Animal Behavior Graduate Group.

Research Focus

The Caillaud Lab uses quantitative methods to measure and analyze behavior in social species. Currently, the lab has three major areas of interest: (i) within- and between-species variability in animal social networks, (ii) ecological and social determinants of animal movement patterns, and (iii) relationship between social contacts, movements and infectious disease dynamics in group-living species. Most of the lab’s research rely on the long-term field study of wild primate populations, with an emphasis on gorillas and other African primates. Dr. Caillaud is also the developer of Animal Observer, a free iPad app dedicated to the collection of social behavior and activity budget data using focal sampling, scan sampling and ad libitum sampling.


      • Caillaud D, Eckardt W, Vecellio V, Ndagijimana F, Mucyo JP, Hirwa JP, Stoinski T. 2020. Violent encounters between social units hinder the growth of a high-density mountain gorilla population. Science Advances, 6(45): eaba0724.
      • Paciência F, Rushmore J, Chuma IS, Lipende IF, Caillaud D, Knauf S, Zinner D. 2019. Mating avoidance in female olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by Treponema pallidum . Science Advances, 5: eaaw9724.
      • Porter A, Eckardt W, Vecellio V, Guschanski K, Niehoff P, Ngobobo U, Nishuli R, Stoinski T, Caillaud D. 2019. Behavioral responses around conspecific corpses in adult eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei spp.). PeerJ, 7: e6655
      • Van Cleave EK, Bidner LR, Ford AT, Caillaud D, Wilmers CC, Isbell LA. Diel patterns of movement activity and habitat use by leopards (Panthera pardus pardus) living in a human-dominated landscape in central Kenya. 2018. Biological Conservation, 226: 224-237.
      • Baas P, van der Valk T, Vigilant L, Ngobobo U, Binyinyi E, Nishuli R, Caillaud D, Guschanski K. Population-level assessment of genetic diversity and habitat fragmentation in Critically-Endangered Grauer’s gorillas. 2018. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165: 565-575.
      • van der Valk T, Sandoval-Castellanos E, Caillaud D, Ngobobo U, Binyinyi E, Nishuli R, Stoinski T, Gilissen E, Sonet G, Semal P, Kalthoff D, Dalén L, Guschanski K. 2018. Significant loss of mitochondrial diversity within the last century due to extinction of peripheral populations in eastern gorillas. Scientific Reports, 8: 6551.
      • Caillaud D, Ndagijimana F, Giarrusso A, Vecellio V, Stoinski TS. 2014. Mountain gorilla ranging patterns: influence of group size and group dynamics. American Journal of Primatology, 76:730-746
      • Rushmore J, Caillaud D, Matamba L, Stumpf R, Borgatti S, Altizer S. 2013. Social network analysis of wild chimpanzees provides insights for predicting infectious disease risk. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82:976-986
      • Caillaud D, Craft ME, Meyers LA. 2013. Epidemiological effects of group size variation in social species. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 10:20130206
      • Guschanski K, Caillaud D, Robbins MM, Vigilant L. 2008. Females shape the genetic structure of a gorilla population. Current Biology, 18:1809-1814.
      • Caillaud D, Levréro F, Ménard N, Raymond M. 2008. Influence of male morphology on male mating status and behavior during inter-unit encounters in western lowland gorillas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 135:379-388.
      • Caillaud D, Levréro F, Cristescu R, Gatti S, Dewas M, Douadi M, Gautier-Hion A, Raymond M, Ménard N. 2006. Gorilla susceptibility to Ebola virus: the cost of sociality. Current Biology, 16:R489-491.



ANT 001 - Human Evolutionary Biology

ANT 155 - Primate Conservation Biology

ANT 159 - Disease outbreaks in humans and other primates

ANT 291: Data analysis using R