Spatial Analysis of Inter- and Intragroup Lemur catta Behaviors and Local Ecological Resource Utilization
David Hollar, PhD, Assistant Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill
Area of research: Behavior
What is your main research question? Do Lemur catta spatial behaviors correlate with specific resource- and/or topographical/ecological locations within their limited environment, and do these behaviors change over time?
Briefly describe your project design.
This is an exploratory single cohort, non-experimental approach with no interactions with the subjects or alterations of their environment. Observed behaviors focus on interactions, socialization, feeding and foraging, and substrate usage. Group locations and movement are measured using a Garmin Geographical Positioning System (GPS).
How will working with lemurs/lemur samples help achieve your research goals?
Free-ranging Lemur catta provide a model system for dynamic primate interactions that can be mathematically modeled, with cross-species applications.
What interesting results have you found?
In Group 1, a beta female failed in a challenge to an alpha female with sporadic, tentatively spatial-correlated challenges; Group 2 female dominance challenges were disrupted but stabilized by death of two members (the matriarch and one male) and transfer of group members due to intensified aggression. There are pedigree-based correlations with dominance behaviors in both observed groups, as has been well documented in the literature. Preliminary mathematical models show nonlinear effects of behaviors and space use over time. Limitations include seasonal , aperiodic observational times and exogenously-introduced changes in group membership.
Hollar, D. (2010). Spatial analysis of inter- and intra-group lemur catta behaviors with local ecological resources (DLC publication #1183). Williamsburg, VA: Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society.