Abstract # 118:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:45 AM-11:00 AM: Session 16 (Salon F (Sixth Floor)) Oral Presentation


IMPACT OF A CYCLONE ON THE BODY CONDITION AND REPRODUCTION OF VERREAUX’S SIFAKA (PROPITHECUS VERREAUXI) IN THE KIRINDY MITEA NATIONAL PARK OF WESTERN MADAGASCAR

R. J. Lewis1 and F. Rakotondanaivo2
1The University of Texas, Department of Anthropology, Austin, TX 78712, USA, 2University of Antananarivo
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     Cyclones have been suggested to be influential in the evolution of Madagascar’s flora and fauna. Because cyclones are stochastic, researching the influence of cyclones on biodiversity is difficult and opportunities to study their impacts are rare because data are required from before and after the disaster. Cyclone Fanele made landfall near the Kirindy Mitea National Park in Madagascar on July 21, 2009. We used repeated-measures linear mixed models to examine the effect of Cyclone Fanele on the body mass, subcutaneous fat, and reproduction of Verreaux’s sifaka inhabiting the park. We compared mass and skinfold thickness for the same 9 individuals in 2007, 2008, and 2010 and found that the body mass (p=0.830) and fat (p=0.555) were not significantly lower in 2010. Birth records for 2006-2010 were used to compare reproductive output before and after the cyclone for the same 9 females. While the percentage of females giving birth in 2010 (56%) was lower than 2008 (78%), it was not the lowest observed. The sifaka experienced significant changes to their food supply and in the overall forest structure, nevertheless their health did not appear to decline in the first 2 years after the cyclone. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that medium-sized folivores can be resilient to even severe cyclones, and with the energy conservation hypothesis that lemurs are well-adapted to coping with disasters.