I started my biology study at the University of Amsterdam, but moved to Utrecht University for my MSc on Sumatran orangutan feeding ecology, which I finished in 1995. After a brief study of bonobos in DRC, I returned to Sumatra to do a PhD on Thomas langur male long-distance calls, which I completed in 2002. A subsequent post-doc position at Utrecht University brought me to the island of Borneo where he continued to study orangutans. In 2005 I joined Great Ape Trust of Iowa where I worked as a scientist until 2009 when he joined the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program and the University of Zurich. In 2012 I joined Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool, UK). In 2014 I joined the UvA as a honorary professor for the conservation of the great apes.
My research interests are focused on primate behavioral ecology, tropical rain forest ecology and conservation of primates and their habitats. Research is strongly focused on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, but also on the island of Borneo. As part of my position at the UvA I am going to focus on fundamental and applied research on African apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas) and Asian apes (orang-utans). At present the key species I study with my collaborators are the Sumatran and Bornean orangutan. Another field of study that I focus on is primate communication and especially what the meaning and function of calls is, whether they are learned and what the geographic variation of calls is. This has the ultimate aim of informing theories on how human speech evolved. In addition, I am collaborating (with Prof. Lian Pin Koh) to develop and use unmanned aerial vehicles (Conservation Drones) for conservation and ecological research. This project has drones flying at several locations around the world (Africa, Asia, and Europe).
Students with an interest in studying primates are welcome to contact me for potential MSc projects. Projects can range from desktop studies on existing datasets to fieldwork in Southeast Asia or Africa. There are also opportunities to study great apes in some of the zoos in the Netherlands. For projects abroad see: http://sergewich.com/project-opportunities-for-students/