The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Tropical lianas: Correlations with habitat type and primate use at Brownsberg Nature Park, Suriname


1Anthropology, Kent State University, 2Anthropology, Kent State University, 3Anatomy, Kansas State University of Medicine and Biosciences, 4Anthropology, University at Albany, SUNY

March 28, 2015 , Gateway Ballroom 2/3/4/5 Add to calendar

Studies show that a dramatic increase in liana biomass in tropical forests is correlated with recent increases in atmospheric CO2. An increase in liana abundance may increase the diversity of food types, but high liana loads have a negative impact on tree survival. This study provides a baseline for assessment of liana density and primate habitat preference in a relatively undisturbed forest in the Guiana Shield. Data were collected at Brownsberg Nature Park Suriname from May to June, 2013, on aspects of tree size and canopy cover, and liana number and diameter in 163 10 x 10m plots. Liana biomass was calculated using established methods and combined with a concurrent primate survey of preferences for “plateau” or “slope” forest. Slope forest had a higher liana biomass (Pearson R = 0.17, P = 0.03, N = 163) and higher canopy cover (R = 0.17, P = 0.03). Five of the seven primate species (i.e. Alouatta, Cebus, Sapajus, Chiropotes, and Pithecia) showed no preference for slope or plateau. Only Ateles paniscus expressed a preference for slope and higher canopy cover. Saguinus midas preferred plateau forest with lower canopy cover. Only Alouatta macconnelli was encountered in areas with high liana biomass (R = 0.16, P < 0.05), but the combined primate sample showed a trend toward a preference for high liana density (R = 0.14, P = 0.07). The effect of climate change on tropical forest primates is of great interest and increasing density of lianas may affect habitat preferences in complex ways.

Partially supported by NSF BCS 0725136 to BWW.