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The ecological determinants of baboon troop movements at local and continental scales.

Johnson, C and Piel, AK and Forman, D and Stewart, FA and King, AJ (2015) The ecological determinants of baboon troop movements at local and continental scales. Movement Ecology, 3 (1). ISSN 2051-3933

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: How an animal moves through its environment directly impacts its survival, reproduction, and thus biological fitness. A basic measure describing how an individual (or group) travels through its environment is Day Path Length (DPL), i.e., the distance travelled in a 24-hour period. Here, we investigate the ecological determinants of baboon (Papio spp.) troop DPL and movements at local and continental scales. RESULTS: At the continental scale we explore the ecological determinants of annual mean DPL for 47 baboon troops across 23 different populations, updating a classic study by Dunbar (Behav Ecol Sociobiol 31: 35-49, 1992). We find that variation in baboon DPLs is predicted by ecological dissimilarity across the genus range. Troops that experience higher average monthly rainfall and anthropogenic influences have significantly shorter DPL, whilst troops that live in areas with higher average annual temperatures have significantly longer DPL. We then explore DPLs and movement characteristics (the speed and distribution of turning angles) for yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) at a local scale, in the Issa Valley of western Tanzania. We show that our continental-scale model is a good predictor of DPL in Issa baboons, and that troops move significantly slower, and over shorter distances, on warmer days. We do not find any effect of season or the abundance of fruit resources on the movement characteristics or DPL of Issa baboons, but find that baboons moved less during periods of high fruit availability. CONCLUSION: Overall, this study emphasises the ability of baboons to adapt their ranging behaviour to a range of ecological conditions and highlights how investigations of movement patterns at different spatial scales can provide a more thorough understanding of the ecological determinants of movement.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Baboon; Comparative analysis; Day path length; Human-modified habitat; Modelling; Movement characteristics; Papio cynocephalus; Ranging; Season; Space-use; Speed; Turning angle
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: BioMed Central
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2015 09:28
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:28
DOI or Identification number: 10.1186/s40462-015-0040-y
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1862

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