Abstract # 2:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 08:30 AM-09:30 AM: (Meeting Room 2DEF) Featured Speaker

Climate Change and its impact on Primates: a Case Study from Madagascar

P. C. Wright1,2
1Stony Brook University, Department of Anthropology, ICTE, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA, 2Centre ValBio, Madagascar
     The overwhelming evidence for climate change in our future suggests we primatologists should examine the impact on long-term population dynamics and persistence of many primates, especially the highly threatened and critically endangered. Primates are key players in ecosystem services such as pollination and seed dispersal in most tropical ecosystems. Geographic ranges of primates may have to move with large-scale climate change, and will the plants be able to keep pace? In Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, we have conducted simultaneous studies of plant phenology and weather coupled with lemur behavior, ecology and demography for the past 20 years. We have observed signs of the rainfall and temperature patterns becoming more variable in the past ten years with more rain in the rainy season and an extended dry season. These climate changes have been accompanied by erratic plant fruiting and flowering patterns, and decreases in both infant survival and female fecundity in lemurs. Evidence from other long-term primate studies on other continents suggests that climate change will not affect all tropical ecosystems the same. Collaborations¬†among primatologists, climatologists, and global change specialists might result in better models of the future. Research focusing on the impact of climate changes on endangered populations of primates, and their food are recommended in order to model more accurately future possibilities and develop effective management and conservation strategies.