• Linking Behavioral Diversity with Genetic and Ecological Variation in the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti)

      Abwe, Ekwoge E. (Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA, 2018)
      The chimpanzees of Cameroon present a unique opportunity to investigate how ecological variation contributes to promoting intraspecific divergences in the endemic mammals of the region.... This thesis explores environmental and ecological differences between rainforest and ecotone habitats at a fine geographic scale, and compares and contrasts chimpanzee socioecology patterns between these habitats.
    • Local attitudes toward Apennine brown bears: Insights for conservation issues

      Glikman, Jenny A.; Ciucci, Paolo; Marino, Agnese; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Bath, Alistair J.; Boitani, Luigi (2019)
      Human-carnivore coexistence is a multi-faceted issue that requires an understanding of the diverse attitudes and perspectives of the communities living with large carnivores. To inform initiatives that encourage behaviors in line with conservation goals, we focused on assessing the two components of attitudes (i.e., feelings and beliefs), as well as norms of local communities coexisting with Apennine brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) for a long time. This bear population is under serious extinction risks due to its persistently small population size, which is currently confined to the long-established protected area of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (PNALM) and its surrounding region in central Italy. We interviewed 1,611 residents in the PNALM to determine attitudes and values toward bears. We found that support for the bear's legal protection was widespread throughout the area, though beliefs about the benefits of conserving bears varied across geographic administrative districts. Our results showed that residents across our study areas liked bears. At the same time, areas that received more benefits from tourism were more strongly associated with positive feelings toward bears. Such findings provide useful information to improve communication efforts of conservation authorities with local communities.
    • Local knowledge and use of the Valle de Aguan Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna, in Honduras

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Danoff-Burg, James A.; Antunes, E.E.; Corneil, J.P. (2014)
      The harvesting of wildlife has had a devastating effect on global biodiversity. Here we investigate the perceived status of the Critically Endangered Valle de Aguán Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna. We interviewed 132 residents of the Valle de Aguán, Honduras to: (1) examine their knowledge of the range and habitat preference; (2) document the use and trade; and (3) understand the level of awareness and openness to protection of this species. Our results indicate that these iguanas are primarily used for food. Though they are a small component of the local diet, consumption is occurring with a preference for gravid females. There are significant gender and geographic differences in consumption by humans. Though these harvesting actions contribute to the continuing decline of this species, our results demonstrate that there is a local belief that these iguanas are in danger of extinction, that conservation actions should occur, and that international involvement is welcome.
    • Local knowledge and use of the valle de aguán spinytailed iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna, in Honduras

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Danoff-Burg, James A.; Antúnez, Edoardo E.; Corneil, Jeffrey P. (2014)
      The harvesting of wildlife has had a devastating effect on global biodiversity. Here we investigate the perceived status of the Critically Endangered Valle de Aguán Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna. We interviewed 132 residents of the Valle de Aguán, Honduras to: (1) examine their knowledge of the range and habitat preference; (2) document the use and trade; and (3) understand the level of awareness and openness to protection of this species. Our results indicate that these iguanas are primarily used for food. Though they are a small component of the local diet, consumption is occurring with a preference for gravid females. There are significant gender and geographic differences in consumption by humans. Though these harvesting actions contribute to the continuing decline of this species, our results demonstrate that there is a local belief that these iguanas are in danger of extinction, that conservation actions should occur, and that international involvement is welcome.
    • Local people’s knowledge and attitudes matter for the future conservation of the endangered Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China

      Ellwanger, Amanda L.; Riley, Erin P.; Niu, Kefeng; Tan, Chia L. (2015)
      Ethnoprimatology seeks to untangle the complex relationship between human and nonhuman primates, and in doing so, can provide a better understanding of how the local cultural context affects conservation initiatives. Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China is the last stronghold for the remaining global population of the Endangered Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi). In an effort to contribute to conservation management plans, we aimed to explore local people’s knowledge and attitudes toward the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey and conservation in the reserve using an ethnoprimatological approach. We conducted ethnographic interviews, involving structured, semistructured, and open-ended interview techniques, with 104 households in 11 villages located in and around the reserve. The results indicate that knowledge about the reserve and the monkey is unevenly distributed among respondents; men are significantly more knowledgeable about the reserve than women and women are significantly more knowledgeable about the monkey than men. Respondents are aware of the rules of the reserve but do not always agree with the rules or understand the rationale behind them. Nonetheless, respondents describe conservation as a trade-off and their attitudes toward the monkey and efforts to conserve it are generally positive and supportive. They expressed a feeling of connectedness with the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey because of its observable, humanlike behaviors; a mutual dependence on the forest; and a shared ancestry. Although our goal was to provide specific recommendations to park officials at our study site, our results also more broadly inform conservation management efforts for protected areas globally. For example, we recommend improving communication between reserve officials and local communities, appreciating the role local folklore can play in conservation, incorporating villagers’ perspectives into conservation planning, and implementing educational programs that target a wide demographic, with a particular emphasis on women.
    • Lorenz Von Liburnau's woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Eppley, Timothy M.; Patel, E.; Reuter, K.E; Steffens, T.S. (2020)
      The species is distributed in two disjunct ranges which, calculated separately, sum up to 3,057 km2; the minimum convex polygon of the total range measures 8,619 km2. This extent of occurrence (EOO) is severely fragmented and undergoing continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat with no overall improvement. It has been estimated that there will be a 78% reduction in the species' range from 2000 to 2080 due to climate change (Brown and Yoder 2015). Based on the EOO, the species is listed as Vulnerable.
    • Lost iguanas: Trouble in paradise

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Carreras De Leon, R. (2014)
      Hispaniola is second only to Cuba in size and biodiversity among West Indian islands, and is unique in being the only island with two native species of Rock Iguanas, the Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta; Fig. 1) and Ricord’s Iguana (C. ricordii). The island’s geologic history is likely responsible. Hispaniola was formed during the middle Miocene when North and South paleoislands joined (Graham 2003). A logical hypothesis suggests that each paleoisland held one species, and when the two islands joined, the ranges of both species shifted, eventually resulting in the distributions seen today. Cyclura ricordii is restricted to the southwestern Dominican Republic (DR) and just across the southern border into Haiti, whereas C. cornuta has a larger distribution throughout much of the arid lowlands across the entire island.
    • Low birthrates and high levels of female reproductive inactivity may characterize the reproductive biology of wild Peruvian red uakaris (Cacajao calvus ucayalii)

      Mayor, Pedro; Bowler, Mark (2015)
      ...We collected reproductive organs from wild uakari monkeys hunted for subsistence by indigenous hunters and examined them for embryos or fetuses. We extrapolated birth dates to test for breeding seasonality and calculated birthrates....
    • Low levels of fruit nitrogen as drivers for the evolution of Madagascar’s primate communities

      Donati, Giuseppe; Santini, Luca; Eppley, Timothy M.; Arrigo-Nelson, Summer J.; Balestri, Michela; Boinski, Sue; Bollen, An; Bridgeman, LeAndra L.; Campera, Marco; Carrai, Valentina; et al. (2017)
      The uneven representation of frugivorous mammals and birds across tropical regions – high in the New World, low in Madagascar and intermediate in Africa and Asia – represents a long-standing enigma in ecology. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain these differences but the ultimate drivers remain unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fruits in Madagascar contain insufficient nitrogen to meet primate metabolic requirements, thus constraining the evolution of frugivory. We performed a global analysis of nitrogen in fruits consumed by primates, as collated from 79 studies. Our results showed that average frugivory among lemur communities was lower compared to New World and Asian-African primate communities. Fruits in Madagascar contain lower average nitrogen than those in the New World and Old World. Nitrogen content in the overall diets of primate species did not differ significantly between major taxonomic radiations. There is no relationship between fruit protein and the degree of frugivory among primates either globally or within regions, with the exception of Madagascar. This suggests that low protein availability in fruits influences current lemur communities to select for protein from other sources, whereas in the New World and Old World other factors are more significant in shaping primate communities.
    • Low MHC variation in the polar bear: Implications in the face of Arctic warming?

      Weber, D.S.; Van Coeverden de Groot, P.J.; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Perez, D.A.; Thomas, S. (2013)
      Animals in the Arctic have low pathogen diversity but with rapid climate warming, this is expected to change. One insidious consequence of climate change is exposure of Arctic species to new pathogens derived from more southern species expanding their range northward. To assess potential vulnerability of polar bears to disease exposure, we examined genetic variation in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci (part of immune system) in Canadian polar bears and found low genetic diversity, consistent with long?standing exposure to low pathogen/parasite loads....
    • Male European badger churrs: Insights into call function and motivational basis

      Charlton, Benjamin D.; Newman, Chris; Macdonald, David W.; Buesching, Christina D. (2020)
      Determining the contexts of emission and information content of vocal signals can yield insights into the function of different call types, and remains an important step towards understanding the diversification of mammalian vocal repertoires. In this study, we used infra-red video cameras and remote audio recorders to document seasonal and contextual variation in male European badger (Meles meles) churr production over a 24-month period, and acoustic analysis based on source-filter theory to examine whether churr acoustic structure varies according to the caller’s arousal state and identity….
    • Male-male affiliation and cooperation characterize the social behavior of the large-bodied pitheciids, Chiropotes and Cacajao: A review

      Gregory, Tremaine; Bowler, Mark (2016)
      …In this review of recent studies of male-male social interactions in Chiropotes and Cacajao, we posit that the ability to maintain large groups in these genera may be related to the affiliative and perhaps coalitionary relationships between males, who may or may not be related. Affiliative male-male relationships may allow for monopolization of groups of females and facilitate group cohesion by reducing intragroup aggression; however data on male-male interactions with identified individuals will be required to determine patterns of affiliation, while genetic studies may be the most practical way of determining dispersal patterns for these genera….
    • Mapping open space in an old-growth, secondary-growth, and selectively-logged tropical rainforest using discrete return LIDAR

      Jung, Jinha; Pekin, Burak K.; Pijanowski, Bryan C. (2013)
      Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a valuable tool for mapping vegetation structure in dense forests. Although several LIDAR-derived metrics have been proposed for characterizing vertical forest structure in previous studies, none of these metrics explicitly measure open space, or vertical gaps, under a forest canopy. We develop new LIDAR metrics that characterize vertical gaps within a forest for use in forestry and forest management applications....
    • Mapping the ecological footprint of large livestock overlapping with wildlife in Kenyan pastoralist landscapes

      O'Connor, David; Butt, Bilal; Foufopoulos, Johannes B. (2016)
      ...This study examines the efficacy using GPS collars to measure the spatial ecology and browsing orbits of camels in a pastoralist setting (primarily cattle and camels) as a means to measure overlap with wildlife....
    • Mass loss rates of fasting polar bears

      Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Hedman, Daryll; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Richardson, Evan (2016)
      Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have adapted to an annual cyclic regime of feeding and fasting, which is extreme in seasonal sea ice regions of the Arctic. As a consequence of climate change, sea ice breakup has become earlier and the duration of the open-water period through which polar bears must rely on fat reserves has increased....
    • Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps: Composition, structure and implications for conservation and management

      Endress, Bryan A.; Horn, Christa M.; Gilmore, Michael P. (2013)
      Swamp forests dominated by the dioecious palm, Mauritia flexuosa, cover vast areas of the Amazon Basin and are poorly studied despite their recognized ecological and economic importance. This knowledge gap confounds current conservation and management efforts. In this study, we documented overstory structure and composition of M. flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) as part of a broader effort to understand their ecology and assist in developing best practices for multi-use management for the Maijuna, an indigenous group in Loreto, Peru.…
    • Measuring behavior change in Bangladesh

      LaCombe, Corrin; Danoff-Burg, James A. (2013)
      Behavioral change via environmental education is a fundamental cornerstone of conservation (Jacobson and McDuff, 1998) as the majority of environmental threats are the result of human activities. Changes in human behavior can be challenging to accurately capture and measure. Using a case study from Bangladesh, we share an example of one way that behavioral change (reduction in littering) was successfully measured as part of a larger hoolock gibbon-focused conservation education program.
    • Migratory response of polar bears to sea ice loss: to swim or not to swim

      Pilfold, Nicholas W.; McCall, Alysa; Derocher, Andrew E.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Richardson, Evan (2017)
      Migratory responses to climate change may vary across and within populations, particularly for species with large geographic ranges. An increase in the frequency of long-distance swims (> 50 km) is one predicted consequence of climate change for polar bears Ursus maritimus....
    • Mitigation-driven translocations: are we moving wildlife in the right direction?

      Germano, Jennifer M.; Field, Kimberleigh J; Griffiths, Richard A; Clulow, Simon; Foster, Jim; Harding, Gemma; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2015)
      Despite rapid growth in the field of reintroduction biology, results from scientific research are often not applied to translocations initiated when human land‐use change conflicts with the continued persistence of a species' population at a particular site....
    • Molecular epidemiology of Trypanosomatids and Trypanosoma cruzi in primates from Peru

      Aysanoa, Esar; Mayor, Pedro; Mendoza, A. Patricia; Zariquiey, Carlos M.; Morales, E. Angelo; Pérez, Jocelyn G.; Bowler, Mark; Ventocilla, Julio A.; González, Carlos; Baldeviano, G. Christian; et al. (2017)
      We determined the prevalence rate and risk of infection of Trypanosoma cruzi and other trypanosomatids in Peruvian non-human primates (NHPs) in the wild (n = 126) and in different captive conditions (n = 183). Blood samples were collected on filter paper, FTA cards, or EDTA tubes and tested using a nested PCR protocol targeting the 24S? rRNA gene....