College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

James Dietz

James Dietz



Office Phone: 301.405.6949
Lab: 301.405.0583
Fax: 301.314.9358
Office Address: 4247 Bio-Psych

Graduate Program Affiliations

  • Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology (CONS)
  • Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences (MEES)
  • BISI - BISI-Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics (BEES)

Research Interests

Dr. Dietz defines Conservation Biology as the emerging discipline that focuses theoretical concepts derived from studies of ecology and evolutionary biology on problems related to extinctions, biological diversity and the maintenance of ecological processes. He and his colleagues promote these objectives through research and extension activities in regions of high biodiversity and endemism such as the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, as well as through interaction with government and nongovernmental conservation organizations in the nearby Washington community. He also conducts collaborative research projects at the Conservation and Research Center and National Zoological Park of the Smithsonian Institution.

For the past 20 years Dr. Dietz has been studying the behavioral ecology of golden and golden-headed lion tamarins in southeastern Brazil. His research on the evolution of monogamy and helping behavior in this communally breeding primate forms an integral part of an international project targeting the conservation of this endangered species and the biodiversity in its ecosystem. Other components of the program include captive breeding, genetic management of the wild population through reintroduction of captive-born tamarins and translocation, habitat restoration and community education.

Recent Publications

  • Dietz, J.M. 2004. Kinship structure and reproductive skew in cooperative breeding primates. PP 233-241 In: Kinship and Behavior in Primates. B. Chapais and C. Berman (editors). Oxford U. Press, New York.
  • Bales, K., French, J.A., McWilliams, J. Lake, R. and Dietz, J.M. 2006. Effects of social status, age, and season on androgen and cortisol levels in wild male golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia). Hormones and Behavior 49(1):88-95.


Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1981. Behavioral ecology and conservation biology of neotropical mammals.