Abstract # 185:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 10:00 AM-12:00 PM: Session 25 (Mary Gay) Symposium


RECENT ADVANCES IN PRIMATE NUTRITIONAL ECOLOGY: THE IMPORTANCE OF NUTRIENT BALANCING

N. Righini1,2
1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Anthropology, Urbana, IL 61801, USA, 2Instituto de Ecologia, A.C., Xalapa, Ver., Mexico
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     Nutritional ecology seeks to explain, in an ecological and evolutionary context, how individuals choose, acquire, and process food in order to satisfy their nutritional requirements. Traditionally, studies of primate diets have focused on how patch choice and time spent foraging and feeding are influenced by the spatial and temporal distribution of resources. From a nutritional perspective, several theories and nutritional models, including energy and protein-to-fiber maximization, nutrient mixing, and toxin avoidance, have been proposed to explain the food choices of adult and juvenile primates. However, more recently, analytical frameworks such as nutritional geometry have been incorporated into primatology to explore, using a multivariate approach, the synergistic effects of multiple nutrients, secondary metabolites, and energy requirements on primate food choice. Moreover, dietary strategies associated with nutrient balancing are increasingly recognized as offering a strong explanation of the tradeoffs primates face in bypassing or selecting particular feeding sites and food items. Here, we bring together a set of studies focusing on the nutritional ecology of primate taxa characterized by marked differences in dietary emphasis. The goal of this symposium is to present, compare, and discuss the diversity of strategies used by primates in diet selection, and how species differences in ecology, physiology, anatomy, and phylogeny affect patterns of nutrient prioritization and nutrient balancing.