Abstract # 2627 Poster # 45:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


S. M. Lindshield1,2 and M. D. Ervin1,3
1Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA, 2Department of Anthropology, Iowa State University, 3Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University

We explore the spatial complexity of savanna-woodland landscapes on the margins of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) geographical distribution to test if the arrangement of vegetation patches influences the species range. Previous studies of chimpanzee distributions have primarily focused on the impact of forest cover, rainfall, plant species composition, and anthropogenic disturbance. However, this research neglects the explicit spatial features of vegetation patches. We analyzed locations where chimpanzees are present and absent with Google Earth satellite imagery [30, 1 km2 images] in an effort to identify differences in spatial patterns associated with the chimpanzee range. Habitat was classified into woody and grassy vegetation categories. The aggregation, proportion, and fractal dimension (complexity) of each habitat category was compared between landscapes where chimpanzees are present and absent [t-test, α=0.05]. We found that the spatial aggregation of woody vegetation patches and the size of the largest woody patches were significantly greater in areas where chimpanzees occur. The spatial complexity of grassy habitats was significantly greater where chimpanzees were absent. We did not find a significant association between chimpanzee range and percent woody vegetation cover. Overall, our results suggest that on a landscape scale chimpanzees require clustered versus hyper-dispersed woody habitats. This spatially-explicit approach improves our understanding of chimpanzee habitat selection and biogeography, and is applicable to a variety of primates residing in similar landscapes.