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Wendy Saltzman home page Behavioral Endocrinology Hormones and Behavior Reproduction Marmoset Callithrix jacchus Callitrichid Primates Cortisol Stress Comparative Physiology Fertility Animal Behavior Reproductive Suppression Gerbil Hypocortisolism

Wendy Saltzman


Assistant Professor of Biology
Spieth 3354
Phone (951) 827-6356


Degree: Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1991

Lab Group Photo June 2004

UCR Daily News Story 15 March 2005; BBC Radio Feature 10 March 2005; CBC Radio Feature 19 March 2005

My research focuses on behavioral endocrinology, the dynamic and complex interactions among hormones, brain, and behavior. I am especially interested in the control of endocrine function and fertility by the social environment. Such social influences are particularly pronounced in cooperative breeders, species in which a single, behaviorally dominant female breeds in each social group and other groupmates provide "alloparental care" for her offspring. Behaviorally subordinate females typically undergo physiological and/or behavioral suppression of reproduction in response to social cues and may become completely infertile as a consequence of their subordinate status.

I am also interested in the interactions between psychosocial stress and reproduction. Much attention has focused on the potential role of stress in inhibiting fertility. In reality, however, the relationship between stress-related physiology and reproductive function is more nuanced, highly complex, and bi-directional. Thus, my research has focused on the cross-talk between stress-related hormones and the reproductive system, especially within the context of critical social influences. This work has broad relevance to vertebrate reproductive and behavioral biology, as well as numerous clinical applications in humans.

My current and recent research includes studies of cooperatively breeding common marmoset monkeys (based at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Madison) and gerbils (at UC Riverside). Topics include:

Behavioral determinants of reproductive suppression
Neuroendocrine mechanisms of reproductive suppression
Mechanisms of social suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
Social and hormonal influences on parental behavior
Infanticide as a female reproductive strategy

I participate in the Physiology graduate track within the Department of Biology's Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Program, as well as the interdepartmental Neuroscience and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Selected Publications

  • Abbott, D.H., Saltzman, W., Schultz-Darken, N.J. and Tannenbaum, P.L. 1998. Adaptations to subordinate status in female marmoset monkeys. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 119:261-274.
  • Baker, J.V., Abbott, D.H. and Saltzman, W. 1999. Social determinants of reproductive failure in male common marmosets housed with their natal family. Animal Behaviour 58:501-513. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Prudom, S.L., Schultz-Darken, N.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2000. Reduced adrenocortical responsiveness to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in socially subordinate female marmoset monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology 25:463-477. [PDF file]
  • Abbott, D.H., Keverne, E.B., Bercovitch, F.B., Shively, C.A., Mendoza, S.P., Saltzman, W., Snowdon, C.T., Ziegler, T.E., Banjevic, M., Garland, T. Jr. and Sapolsky, R.M. 2003. Are subordinates always stressed? A comparative analysis of rank differences in cortisol levels among primates. Hormones and Behavior 43:67-82. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W. (2003). Reproductive competition among female common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): proximate and ultimate causes. In: Jones, C.B., ed. Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in Primates: New Perspectives and Directions. American Society of Primatologists, Norman, OK, pp. 197-229. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Prudom, S.L, Schultz-Darken, N.J., Wittwer, D.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2004. Social suppression of cortisol in female marmoset monkeys: role of circulating ACTH levels and glucocorticoid negative feedback. Psychoneuroendocrinology 29:141-161. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Pick, R.R., Salper, O.J., Liedl, K.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2004. Onset of plural cooperative breeding in common marmoset families following replacement of the breeding male. Animal Behaviour 68:59-73. [PDF file]
  • Pattison, J.C., Abbott, D.H., Saltzman, W., Nguyen, A.D., Henderson, G., Ju, H., Pryce, C.R., Allen, A.J., Conley, A.J. and Bird, I.M. 2005. Marmoset monkeys express an adrenal fetal zone at birth but not a zona reticularis in adulthood. Endocrinology 146:365-374. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W. and Abbott, D.H. 2005. Diminished maternal responsiveness during pregnancy in multiparous female common marmosets. Hormones and Behavior 47:151-163. [PDF file]
  • Blumstein, D.T., Patton, M.L. and Saltzman, W. 2006. Faecal glucocorticoid concentrations and alarm calling in free-living yellow-bellied marmots. Biology Letters 2: 29-32. [PDF file]
  • Digby, L.J., Ferrari, S.F. and Saltzman, W. 2006. Callitrichines: the role of competition in cooperatively breeding species. In: Campbell, C.J., Fuentes, A.F., Mackinnon, K.C., Panger, M. and Bearder, S., eds. Primates in Perspective. Oxford University Press, pp. 85-106. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Ahmed, S., Fahimi, A., Wittwer, D.J. and Wegner, F.H. 2006. Social suppression of female reproductive maturation and infanticidal behavior in cooperatively breeding Mongolian gerbils. Hormones and Behavior 49: 527-537. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Hogan, B.K. and Abbott, D.H. 2006. Diminished cortisol levels in subordinate female marmosets are associated with altered central drive to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Biological Psychiatry. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Hogan, B.K., Allen, A.J., Horman, B.M. and Abbott, D.H. 2006. Hypoestrogenism does not mediate social suppression of cortisol in subordinate female marmosets. Psychoneuroendocrinology. [PDF file]

Click here for a complete publication list.

Updated 12 July 2006 by T.G.