The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Dietary, behavioral, and hormonal comparisons of female red colobus monkeys (Procolobus rufomitratus) in logged and unlogged areas of Kibale National Park, Uganda


1Anthropology, University of Illinois, 2Anthropology, McGill University, 3Animal Sciences, University of Illinois

Friday 2:45-3:00, Galleria North Add to calendar

Examining the response of wild primate populations to habitat disturbances is essential for understanding the impacts on and potential adaptive abilities of species to adjust to environmental change. This study investigates differences in the behaviors, diets, and hormone profiles of female red colobus monkeys (Procolobus rufomitratus) living in logged and unlogged areas of Kibale National Park, Uganda. Our three main objectives were to determine: 1) differences in activity budgets and mating behaviors between logged and unlogged areas, 2) how habitat differences impact diet, and 3) the relationship between habitat quality and hormone profiles. Focal follows of 40 females in 6 groups of red colobus (3 in logged and 3 in unlogged areas) resulted in approximately 7000 hours of observation time. Fecal samples (n=600) were collected and analyzed using radioimmunoassays to determine hormone concentrations. Females in logged areas spent significantly more time feeding and significantly less time resting, traveling, and grooming than females in unlogged areas. Females in logged areas had lower rates of copulation and constrained sexual activity to periods of maximum swelling compared to females in unlogged areas. Diets differed significantly – females in logged areas had a more diverse diet than females in unlogged areas, which ate larger quantities of select tree species. Despite these behavioral and dietary differences, hormone profiles did not differ between logged and unlogged areas of Kibale National Park. Determining how habitat quality impacts primate populations is crucial for the management of wild primate populations and has important implications for the study of phenotypic plasticity.

This study was funded by NSF-DDIG, LSB Leakey Foundation, Primate Conservation Inc, The Explorers Club, The Sophie Danforth Conservation Fund, Primate Action Fund, Idea Wild, the University of Illinois Graduate College, Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund, and American Society of Primatologists.

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