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Title: Anthropogenic influence on the behavior, tree usage, and home range of Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) in northwestern Madagascar
Authors: Block-Funkhouser, Devon
Advisors: Riehl, Christina
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: Because of widespread habitat destruction and fragmentation in Madagascar, many groups of the critically endangered Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) now live in anthropogenically-altered habitats where humans are constantly present and have introduced non-native tree species. The response of P. coquereli to these anthropogenic influences is previously unknown. This study examines the effects of anthropogenically-altered habitats on the behavior, tree usage, and home range size of P. coquereli. Activity budgets, tree species utilized, and home ranges were compared between three groups living within a village (“Anthropogenic habitat”) and two groups living in a forest fragment (“Forest habitat”), both within the Mahamavo forest of northwestern Madagascar. The findings show that groups in the Anthropogenic habitat spend more time on social-grooming and auto-grooming behaviors, consistent with the trend of a decrease in foraging/eating behaviors in the Anthropogenic habitat. The groups in the Anthropogenic habitat also had slightly smaller home ranges than groups in the Forest habitat and utilized introduced tree species, unavailable in the Forest habitat, in similar or higher proportions to native tree species. These findings may be due to the presence of introduced fruit trees in the Anthropogenic habitat creating concentrated year-round resources for the P. coquereli groups in this habitat. The findings of this study contribute to the literature on P. coquereli responses to anthropogenic alteration of their habitat, which are important to understand for future conservation efforts.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2023

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