Karin Enstam Jaffe

Program Coordinator

Karin Jaffe profile picture
Stevenson 2054A (SSU main campus)

University of California, Davis, Ph.D. Anthropology, 2002

University of California, Davis, M.A. Anthropology, 1997

University of California, San Diego, B.A. Anthropology, 1994

Academic Interests

Dr. Jaffe is a biological anthropologist with research interests in applied animal behavior and primate behavior and ecology. She has over 20 years of experience studying primate behavior, and has conducted research in Kenya, Grenada, at the San Francisco Zoo, Safari West Wildlife Preserve, and at CRES (Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species) at the San Diego Zoo. Dr. Jaffe has been the director of the Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research (SSUPER) Lab since 2007. She currently a Research Associate at Oakland Zoo, where she collaborates on applied animal behavior projects, using scientific observational methods to help improve the lives of captive animals. Most recently, she has been involved in behavioral enrichment research involving ring-tailed lemurs, chimpanzees, and sun bears.


Biological anthropology, primate behavior and ecology, applied animal behavior, evolution of human and primate behavior


Dr. Jaffe has been a faculty member in the Anthropology Department at Sonoma State University since August 2002. A dedicated teacher-scholar, she has won several teaching, scholarship, and mentoring awards during her time at SSU, including the SSU Excellence in Teaching Award (2009) and the President’s Excellence in Scholarship Award (2016). In addition to teaching courses in primate behavioral ecology, evolution of human behavior, human behavioral ecology, and anthropological theory, she mentors graduate and undergraduate students in her lab, and has been an adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department since 2003, the program coordinator of the Human Development Major since November 2014, and the program coordinator of the Liberal Studies-Ukiah Program since January 2018.

Selected Publications & Presentations

To view a complete list of all publications and presentations, or download PDFs, please go to Dr. Jaffe's ResearchGate ProfileAcademia Profile, or Fresca Profile.


Jaffe, K.E. (2017) Guenon, Arboreal. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology, Volume 1. (A. Fuentes, ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ. pp. 496-504.

Isbell, L.A. & Jaffe, K.E. (2013) Chlorocebus pygerythrus: vervet monkey. In: Mammals of Africa, Volume II: Primates. (T.M. Butynski, J.S. Kingdon, & J. Kalina, eds.). Bloomsbury Publishing, NY. pp. 277-283.

Jaffe, K.E. & Isbell, L.A. (2010) Changes in ranging and agonistic behavior of vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) after predator-induced group fusion. American Journal of Primatology. 72: 634-644.

Isbell, L.A., Young, T.P., Jaffe, K.E., Carlson, A.A., & Chancellor, R.L. (2009) Demography and life histories of sympatric patas monkeys, Erythrocebus patas, and vervets, Cercopithecus aethiops, in Laikipia, Kenya. International Journal of Primatology. 30: 103-124.

Jaffe, K.E. & Isbell, L.A. (2009) After the fire: Benefits of reduced ground cover for vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops). American Journal of Primatology. 71: 252-260.

Parker, S.T. & Jaffe, K.E. (2008) Darwin’s Legacy: Scenarios in Human Evolution. AltaMira Press, NY. (Named a 2009 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title)


Barber, J., Minier, D., Jaffe, K.E., Salonga, V., Ghavamian, Y. and Humphrey, E. “Food distribution as a form of enrichment for captive sun bears.” Presented at 3rd International Symposium on Zoo Animal Welfare at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL, October 8-10, 2017.  Poster Presentation.

Radosevich, L.M., Jaffe, K.E., Minier, D., Clack, W. and Gretler, K. “Centrality and social power: Individual roles in social network of a group of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas). Presented at The 40th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists in Washington, D.C., August 25-28, 2017. Platform Presentation.

Cornelius, N., Jaffe, K.E., Minier, D., Henderson, C., Volkov, W., and Mrsny, A. “Increasing captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) engagement with multi-step cognitive enrichment.” Presented at the 40th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists in Washington, D.C., August 25-28, 2017. Poster Presentation.

Wilson, P.J., Jaffe, K.E., & Minier, D. “The use of smart feeders to understand reward predictability and activity levels in captive lemurs and zoo visitor interest.” Presented at the 2016 Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference in San Diego, CA, September 7-11, 2016. Poster Presentation.

Williams, D.R., & Jaffe, K.E. “Female-female competition in zoo living mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx): Effects of dominance rank and reproductive state.” Presented at the 38th Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists in Bend, OR, June 17-20, 2015. Platform presentation.