The Bonobo Diversity Project

BonDiv: a collaborative network project

What is BonDiv

The BonDiv project is a large-scale collaborative research project that aims to investigate and document bonobo intraspecific diversity, allowing for simultaneous study of multiple sympatric species at 30 sites within Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our goal is to establish a network of research sites, with an information service across them.


The origin of BonDiv

The BonDiv project idea was born in Leipzig in 2019, during a discussion between Erin Wessling and Martin Surbeck about the relationship between the ecology and behaviour of bonobos and chimpanzees. From there, it extended to the role of the ecology in the process of speciation between chimpanzees and bonobos, at which point Hjalmar Kühl joined the discussions.

It became clear that replicating or building on the PanAf project  and starting such an unprecedented project for Bonobos would help us find the answer to this big question and would reveal the so far unknown bonobo within-species diversity.

In addition, it seemed the right moment to start such an large-scale endeavor, given its high benefits to conservation efforts during times of decline of bonobo and sympatric wildlife in the Congo Basin.