Abstract # 1173 Event # 495:

Scheduled for Friday, June 30, 2006 08:30 AM-01:00 PM: Session 63 (Kuku) Symposium

Symposium: Rainforest sifakas - Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

S. J. Arrigo-Nelson1,2, M. T. Irwin1,4 and F. Ratelolahy2,3
1Stony Brook University, Department of Anthropology, SBS Building, 5th floor, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA, 2Centre ValBio, Ranomafana Madagascar, 3Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology, University of Antananarivo, Antananarivo Madagascar, 4Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec Canada
     Rainforest sifakas (Propithecus candidus, P. diadema, P. edwardsi, P. perrieri, and P. tattersalli) are more complex and less understood than their dry-forest counterparts. Due in part to the difficulties of weather and terrain associated with working in eastern Madagascar, the lack of long-term data on sifakas has left biologists and conservationists ill-prepared to protect them from habitat degradation and population decreases. Wright initiated long-term behavioral research on sifakas in Madagascar rainforests in 1986. Within the past ten years, this work has been built upon by a new wave of students and researchers specifically focused on the link between sifaka behavior and habitat change and ecological disturbance. This symposium will provide an opportunity for participants to synthesize what is currently known about the effects of disturbance on the behavior and ecology of rainforest sifakas and to generate discussion among IPS members. Our objective is to identify the ecological and behavioral responses of rainforest sifakas to habitat disturbance, and to explore how biologists and conservationists can use such information to strengthen population management efforts and ensure species survival.