Abstract # 159:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


ARE THE ECOLOGICAL TRAITS OF EULEMUR fulvus POPULATIONS DETERMINED BY ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OR GENETIC RELATEDNESS?

J. M. Kamilar and K. M. Ossi
Dept. of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA
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     The increasing availability of molecular and ecological data from several populations of the same primate species allows for the investigation of how environmental factors and genetic relatedness affect primate ecological diversity. If the genetic relatedness of populations plays a significant role in shaping their ecological traits, then there should be a significant positive relationship between genetic and ecological similarity. Alternatively, if environmental factors are important in affecting the ecology of a population, then there should be a significant correlation between the environmental and ecological similarity among populations. This study examined these influences in the brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), which occupies a wide range of habitat types and has a broad geographic distribution throughout Madagascar. Molecular and environmental data from six brown lemur populations were gathered from the published literature. In addition, ecological niches were quantified using several dietary, activity budget, and social organization variables. Partial Mantel tests were employed to examine the relationships between molecular, environmental, and ecological similarity among populations. The analyses demonstrated that there was a positive correlation between environmental and ecological similarity among E. fulvus populations while controlling for genetic relatedness (r = 0.56, P = 0.02). In addition, there was no relationship between genetic relatedness and ecological similarity when environmental similarity was held constant (r = -0.31, P = 0.86). Therefore, these results demonstrated the importance of environmental selective forces in shaping the ecological variability of brown lemurs.