Abstract # 13134:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018 10:45 AM-11:00 AM: (Regency West 1/3) Oral Presentation


THE RHESUS MACAQUE (MACACA MULATTA) POPULATION OF CAYO SANTIAGO POST-HURRICANE MARIA: SOCIAL GROUPS, DISTRIBUTION, CURRENT RESEARCH SITUATION

A. V. Ruiz-Lambides1,2, B. Giura1 and G. Caraballo1
1Caribbean Primate Research Center, PO Box 906, Punta Santiago, PR 00741, USA, 2Junior Research Group of Primate Kin Selection, Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, DE
line
     This report describes the group dynamics of the free-ranging rhesus macaques that inhabit the island of Cayo Santiago (CS) and the research situation after the devastation caused by a catastrophic atmospheric event. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing widespread destruction paralleled by few storms in United States history. The nearly Category 5 hurricane struck the town of Punta Santiago, home of the Cayo Santiago Field Station (CSFS). For 18 hours, hurricane force winds battered CSFS, destroying buildings and denuding the island’s lush vegetation. Prior to this event, CS was home to 1,766 monkeys divided into six naturally occurring social groups (F, R, S, KK, MM, V). Groups inhabited the 38-acre island, including a "Small Cay" (SC) connected to the main "Big Cay" (BC) by a narrow, sandy isthmus. Group distribution changed instantly due to the storm’s impact on the coastal topography. Since the event, the isthmus remains submerged, isolating Group V (n = 279) in SC from the rest of the population. The census was resumed two days post-Hurricane Maria. Thus far, 1,621 monkeys have been visually accounted for including 31 newly born individuals. Data collection resumed a month after the storm in three social groups (F, V, KK), documenting social relations and physiology after the disturbance to be compared with long-term data collected prior to the storm.