Abstract # 6213 Poster # 89:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


REMOTE SAMPLING OF HAIR FOR DNA FROM CANOPY DWELLING PRIMATES: A STUDY WITH RED RUFFED LEMURS, VARECIA RUBRA, IN MASOALA NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR.

M. S. Mogilewsky
Portland State University, School of the Environment, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA
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     Threatened by habitat loss, forest fragmentation, and hunting, Varecia rubra face the risk of extinction in our lifetime. Collection and analysis of DNA can provide insight into the structure of existing populations, but because V. rubra spend most of their time in the canopy above 15 m, DNA collection is logistically challenging. We developed an affordable, robust hair trap to collect samples for DNA that eliminated handling the lemurs and prevented contamination and the sampling of multiple individuals. The hair traps were first tested in captivity, resulting in collection of samples sufficient for DNA analysis from 4 of 5 V. rubra. Failure to collect hair samples during preliminary trials at Masoala National Park (MNP) during September 2013 resulted in changing the bait to a fruit/salt mixture. Subsequently, six hair traps were installed in the MNP for nine consecutive days during October 2014. All traps were installed between 16-20 m in the canopy in areas where V. rubra were frequently sighted. During second trials, hair samples were successfully collected from 20% of the traps. All successful hair traps included salt in the bait, were checked every other day rather than daily, and were installed in fruit bearing trees. Based on hair morphology, samples were probably from sympatric Eulemur albifrons rather than V. rubra. Future efforts will focus on improving collection from the target species.