Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Monkey-dung Study Offers Clues About Land-use, Wildlife Ecology

Date:
April 8, 2006
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Fecal matter of red colobus monkeys collected in western Uganda has yielded a wealth of knowledge about human land-use change and wildlife health and conservation. The main lesson, researchers say, is that the intensity of tree removal translates directly to parasite populations and the risk of infection of their hosts.

Fecal matter of red colobus monkeys collected in western Uganda has yielded a wealth of knowledge about human land-use change and wildlife health and conservation. The main lesson, researchers say, is that the intensity of tree removal translates directly to parasite populations and the risk of infection of their hosts.

In an effort to glean predictive power out of years of research on the effects of forest fragmentation on various species and ecological processes, researchers looked at nine differently fragmented regions of forests located in what is now agricultural landscape just west of Kibale National Park, in the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains. Within these regions, they focused on populations of red colobus (Piliocolobus tephrosceles) monkeys and the presence of strongyle and rhabditoid nematodes.

For two years, Thomas R. Gillespie, a professor of pathobiology in the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and Colin A. Chapman, an anthropologist at McGill University in Canada, surveyed the monkeys and determined nematode levels by examining 536 colobus fecal samples. Their study appears in the April issue of the journal Conservation Biology.

Gillespie is co-director with Illinois pathobiology colleague Tony Goldberg of the Kibale EcoHealth Project, a flagship program of the multidisciplinary U. of I. Earth and Society Initiative on Emerging Disease & Ecosystem Health.

Red colobus are one of the most endangered African colobine species. The two groups of nematodes have been documented to infect red colobus and have the capacity to cause gastrointestinal problems that can be fatal.

Gillespie and Chapman sorted through nine potential factors, including physical and biological attributes. They concluded that the degradation of the forest and human presence, as measured in stump density, strongly influenced the prevalence of parasitic nematodes. Infection risk, they reported also was higher in the fragment with the highest stump density than in the fragment with the lowest stump density.

"Our results provide evidence that an easily measured index such as the number of stumps in a given area can be used to predict the degree to which a fundamental ecological process -- host-parasite dynamics -- can be altered by human disturbance," Gillespie said. "We think that this pattern is likely to be common in disturbed areas and may represent an unrecognized threat for the conservation and management of various habitats."

Gillespie, who also holds appointments in the anthropology department and the Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Illinois, and Chapman, also a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society, were part of a team that last year reported that selective-logging practices in the region had changed the ecological balance for three primate species. The red-tailed guenon, they noted in the Journal of Applied Ecology, is still a primate in decline. They also reported high levels of parasitic infections in the guenons in the heavily logged areas.

The parasites being monitored in their studies occur at high frequency in human populations in the logged region, but are absent from colobus species within Kibale National Park, where people and primates interact less frequently, Gillespie said.

Physical factors considered in the new study included size, location and landscape of each of the nine fragmented regions, while biological factors in the mix were tree diversity, tree density, stump density and overall colobine density. Colobines are leaf-eaters that live in groups of five to 300 individuals, and they depend on forest cover to survive.

The National Center for Environmental Research, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society supported the research. Permission to conduct the research was given by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Monkey-dung Study Offers Clues About Land-use, Wildlife Ecology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060408124454.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2006, April 8). Monkey-dung Study Offers Clues About Land-use, Wildlife Ecology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060408124454.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Monkey-dung Study Offers Clues About Land-use, Wildlife Ecology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060408124454.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins