Abstract # 1160 Event # 126:

Scheduled for Tuesday, June 27, 2006 02:00 PM-04:00 PM: Session 19 (Bwindi) Symposium

SYMPOSIUM: Nutritional Ecology of Primates in Uganda

J. M. Rothman1 and C. A. Chapman2,3
1Cornell University, Department of Animal Science, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA, 2Anthropology Department and McGill School of Environment, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, H3A 2T7, 3Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, 10460, USA
     Primates are a diverse Order that use a variety of strategies to obtain, process, and digest food. The flexibility of their nutritional strategy depends on their digestive anatomy and physiology. Ecological features of the habitat, available nutrients, and competition for food resources determine food choice. Adequate nutrition is essential for reproduction, decreases susceptibility to disease, and in some primate species regulates group and/or population size. Of particular importance when constructing informed conservation plans is the assessment of habitat suitability, which depends on available digestible nutrients and nutrient requirements. Additionally, if specific resources in primate habitats are of exceptional nutritional importance, their protection can be prioritized. Accordingly, by understanding the nutritional demands imposed by primates on their habitat, we will be better able to ensure their continued survival. Uganda, the IPS Congress host country, is rich in primate species and has made great strides in protecting primate habitats. This symposium brings together graduate students and senior researchers who study the nutrition of primates in Uganda's national parks. Aspects of primate nutritional ecology in three different forests will be presented and discussed with respect to comparative nutrition, feeding competition, and baseline nutrition data for endangered primate populations. Highlighting nutritional studies within this restricted geographical range allows us to effectively evaluate the importance of nutrition versus other potential selective pressures influencing behavioural strategies.