The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)

Baboons (Papio anubis) in Kibale National Park, Uganda, disperse seeds into diverse habitats: preliminary results from spatial analysis and seed fate experiments


1Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, 2Anthropology, Graduate Center of CUNY, 3Anthropology, Hunter College of CUNY, 4New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP)

April 16, 2016 , Atrium Ballroom A/B Add to calendar

Kibale National Park, Uganda, comprises multiple forestry compartments with different histories of logging, resulting in diverse habitats of unlogged/primary forest, logged/regenerating forest, and forest gaps. In Kibale, olive baboons (Papio anubis) travel and disperse seeds in a wide range of these forestry compartments and habitat types, although virtually nothing is known of how they impact forest regeneration. During baboon follows (2010-2011, 2014), we collected Geographical Spatial Positioning coordinates for 401 fecal samples and, using ArcGIS, analyzed the spatial data using kernel density estimation. A subset of these fecal samples (n=90) were collected and analyzed for seed content, a majority (68%) of which contained whole seeds (range=3-103/sample). A randomly-selected sub-sample of the fecal samples (n=10) comprised 1,131 whole seeds (mean=113 seeds/sample) that were used to establish three 50m transects in a logged forestry compartment (K-15; n=88 seeds) and three transects in an unlogged compartment (K-30; n=90 seeds) to monitor seed fate. Every 10m, we placed 5 seeds (either Aframomum spp. n=30; Solanum spp., n=81; Poaceae spp., n=67). After three weeks, the average proportion of whole seeds remaining in K-30 (0.022 seeds) was lower than K-15 (0.176 seeds) (t(7)=4.6585; p<0.01). Additionally, an analysis of variance showed that the effect of the seed species was a determinant of seed fate (F(2,285)=3.107; p<.05). These results suggest that baboon movement and foraging ecology contribute to seed dispersal at a landscape level through the distribution of seeds in diverse habitats, and with seed fate affected by logging history and seed species.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. 1058069.