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ABSTRACT:

Edge effects on the density of Cheirogaleus major

Journal Article

Lehman S; Rajaonson A; Day S

2006

International Journal of Primatology

27

1569-1588

We investigated how greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major) densities ambient air temperature and dendrometrics (tree height and diameter) var- ied along forest edge-interior gradients in the Vohibola III Classified For- est in SE Madagascar. We also assessed if spatial variations in densities of Cheirogaleus major provide indirect evidence of increased predation pres- sure in the transition zone between edge and interior forest habitats i.e. an ecological trap. We conducted diurnal temperature surveys (N = 394) and nocturnal surveys of Cheirogaleus major (N = 182) over 2 yr along 4 1250- m transects that ran perpendicular to the forest edge in Vohibola III. We did not see Cheirogaleus major from May to mid-September and the highest sighting frequency occurred during October–November. Cheirogaleus major exhibited a negative edge response because densities ranged from low levels in edge habitats to higher levels in the forest interior. After we tested for spatial autocorrelation edge-related variations in densities of Cheirogaleus major covaried most strongly with tree diameter. Edge responses of Cheirogaleus major may reflect spatial variations in fruit and liana abundance though data are needed on the precise relationship between tree diameter and food pro- duction to confirm the relationship. Edge-related variations in densities of Cheirogaleus major may also provide indirect evidence of an ecological trap. Testing and controlling for spatial autocorrelation should be important com- ponents of future studies of primate conservation biology and ecology.

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The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.