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The Short-Term Effects of Hurricane Richard on the Diet, Behaviour, and Sub-Grouping Patterns of Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at Runaway Creek Nature.

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Presentation on theme: "The Short-Term Effects of Hurricane Richard on the Diet, Behaviour, and Sub-Grouping Patterns of Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at Runaway Creek Nature."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Short-Term Effects of Hurricane Richard on the Diet, Behaviour, and Sub-Grouping Patterns of Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at Runaway Creek Nature Reserve, Belize Jane Champion 1, Kayla Hartwell 1, Mary Pavelka 1, and Hugh Notman 1 & 2 1 University of Calgary and 2 Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada

2 Hurricane Richard October 25, 2010 Category 2 hurricane Winds up to 155 kph Runaway Creek Nature Reserve directly in path $80 million (US) damage Belize Weather Center

3 Runaway Creek Nature Reserve Belize Protected Areas RCNR

4 Hurricane Richard damage at RCNR Damage assessment: – 42.8% major damage – 27.6% minor damage – 29.6% no observable damage

5 Hurricane Iris Monkey River, Belize October 8, 2001 Category 4 hurricane Top winds 230 kph

6 Hurricane Iris 100% forest defoliation No fruit available for 18 months Diet switched to total folivory Increase in time spent inactive Decrease in social behaviour

7 Results Dramatic reduction in population density, group size, and fruit availability/consumption

8 Objective of this Presentation Document short-term effects of Hurricane Richard on Runaway Creek Nature Reserve spider monkey population, diet, activity, and subgroup size and stability.

9 Predictions 1. Population losses 2. A change in diet, which will reflect changes in food availability – Lower fruit consumption – Increase consumption of leaves and fallback foods 3. A change in activity budgets – More time dedicated to traveling – Less time spent in social activities 4. Reduced sub-group size

10 Methods 10 minute focal samples on adults and subadults Instantaneous subgroup scans every 30 minutes Subgroup composition changes recorded via ad libitum sampling 4 months pre- and 3 months post-hurricane data used – 35 field days during each period (70 days total)

11 AdultSubadultJuvenileInfant Male5253 Female13261 Total individuals: 37 All individuals accounted for in 3 months post- hurricane 3 births between December 2010 and January 2011 Results: Population Changes Group composition as of January 2011

12 Results: Diet Taken from all instantaneous subgroup scan samples Paired t-tests Less ripe fruit (p<0.001) More flowers (p=0.015), leaves (p<0.001), and unripe fruit (p<0.001) * * * * Mean proportion of feeding activity

13 Results: Activity Taken from all instantaneous subgroup scan samples Paired t-tests More time feeding (p=0.001), and in social activities (p=0.023) * * Mean proportion of activities

14 Results: Subgroup Size Taken from all focal and scan samples Paired t-tests Average subgroup per day decreased (p=0.026) * Mean number of individuals per subgroup per day

15 Results: Subgroup Stability Collected ad libitum during subgroup follows Paired t-tests Both fissions (p=0.005) and fusions (p=0.014) per hour decreased * * Mean frequency of fissions/fusions per observation hours

16 Summary of short term-effects of the hurricane 1.No population losses 2.Evidence of dietary flexibility 3.Minor changes to activity budget 4.Evidence of grouping flexibility toward smaller, more stable subgroups

17 Implications and directions for research Spider monkeys more resilient to major habitat disturbance than expected, at least in the short-term. Support some of the findings reported for Hurricanes Emily and Wilma (Rebecchini et al) Future research is required to examine forest regeneration in more detail and the long-term effects of these changes to spider monkeys and other primate species

18 Acknowledgements Project supervisors: Mary Pavelka and Hugh Notman Co-author: Kayla Hartwell Field support: Stevan Reneau and Gilroy Welch Statistical support: Dr. Tak Fung Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Geographic Society, The University of Calgary


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