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Oxford Brookes University

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Oxford Brookes University

About the Nocturnal Primate Research Group

As part of the Lemur Conservation Action Plan, we are among the leading groups in charge of developing research and conservation in the recently established protected area of Tsitongambarika (south-east corner of Madagascar). This area, where no systematic research has been conducted so far, is considered one of the Action Plan priorities and one of the last large expanses of lowland rainforest left in Madagascar.

Since 1995, we have been studying the proximate and ultimate determinants of day-night activity (aka cathemeral activity) in true lemurs. This activity pattern is extremely rare among primates but common in lemurs, thus offering the unique opportunity to study the key transition between nocturnal and diurnal life during primate evolution.

The lemur species and field sites where we conducted our work on cathemeral activity are:

  • Eulemur collaris and Hapalemur meridionalis in the littoral forests of Mandena and Sainte Luce (Fort Dauphin);
  • Lemur catta and Eulemur hybrids in the gallery forest of Berenty (Fort Dauphin); and
  • Eulemur rufifrons in the dry forest of Kirindy (Morondava).

At the first two sites we have ongoing programs of research.

Studying How Lemurs Respond to Changes in Food Availability and Habitat

A second main stream of our research is focusing on lemur response to change in food availability and habitat disturbance. Since most forested areas in Madagascar have been modified by humans, understanding how lemurs respond to habitat disturbance and/or how they cope with new habitats is urgent. This response is investigated at various levels including thermoregulation, activity and ranging pattern, diet composition and nutritional ecology.

This work uses as a model the archipelago of fragments of the south-eastern littoral forest where the entire lemur community (Eulemur collarisHapalemur meridionalisAvahi meridionalis; Cheirogaleus sp.; Microcebus sp.) has been studied since 1999.

Members of our research groups have also studied the behavioural ecology of Allocebus trichotis and Mirza zaza in Andasibe and Sahamalaza, respectively.

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Northern Illinois University

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Northern Illinois University

About Mitchell Irwin’s Work in Behavioral Ecology, Health and Conservation of Wild Primates

My research examines the ecology and behavior of lemurs in a range of habitat types (from highly disturbed fragments to relatively intact continuous forest) in Tsinjoarivo, eastern Madagascar.

One major focus of this research is improving our understanding of lemurs’ unique adaptations (compared to other primates), which might be linked to ecological conditions in Madagascar. The second major focus is examining lemurs’ range of habitat tolerances and their ecological and behavioral responses to habitat disturbance and fragmentation.

My main focus has been on the diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) but other aspects of my research have focused on the lemur community and my group is expanding to focus on bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) and brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus).

Research Supported by Sadabe

My research complements and is facilitated by Sadabe, an organization working in Madagascar.

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German Primate Center

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German Primate Center

About the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit

The Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit has been operating a field station in Kirindy Forest/CNFEREF near Morondava since 1993. We are studying the behavior and ecology of 8 sympatric lemur species at Kirindy: Propithecus verreauxi, Eulemur rufifrons, Lepilemur ruficaudatus, Phaner pallescens, Cheirogaleus medius, Mirza coquereli, Microcebus murinus and Microcebus berthae.

We have been operating a field station in Kirindy Forest/CNFEREF near Morondava since 1993.

We are studying the behavior and ecology of 8 sympatric lemur species at Kirindy:

  • Propithecus verreauxi,
  • Eulemur rufifrons,
  • Lepilemur ruficaudatus,
  • Phaner pallescens,
  • Cheirogaleus medius,
  • Mirza coquereli,
  • Microcebus murinus, and
  • Microcebus berthae.
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University of Toronto

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University of Toronto

About Tropical Research in Edge Effects (TREE)

The longitudinal research objective that my students and I pursue is to integrate evolutionary ecology and conservation biogeography to model primate responses to anthropogenic disturbances. The specific aim of our research program is to determine how forest loss, forest fragmentation, and forest edges influence the lemur ecology in Madagascar.

Most of our research is in the tropical dry forests in and around Ankarafantsika National Park in north-west Madagascar, where we study:

  • Propithecus coquereli,
  • Microcebus murinus,
  • Microcebus ravelobensis,
  • Eulemur fulvus fulvus, and
  • Eulemur mongoz.
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MAHERY at Harvard University

Harvard University

About Madagascar Health and Environmental Research (MAHERY) at Harvard

There are no greater global concerns than the disappearance and destruction of our planet’s ecosystems and wildlife and the improvement of human health and food security for vulnerable human populations around the world.

Since 2004, our team has been actively researching the intersection of environmental health and human health to understand the ways in which ecosystem transformation has downstream effects on human wellbeing.

Most of our work has centered on estimating the role of bushmeat hunting in both decimating local wildlife populations (lemurs, carnivores, bats, tenrecs, etc.) and also influencing human nutrition and food security. All of our work has always been driven by and embedded in local communities to understand the psychology around illegal wildlife harvesting and to develop a paired vision for future conservation and development.

MAHERY has focused much of its efforts on the following bodies of research:

  1. the impact of overhunting and terrestrial wildlife declines on food security and nutrition
  2. the impact of fisheries management and marine conservation on food security and nutrition
  3. the use of traditional medicines by local people
  4. the practice of pica and geophagy
  5. barriers to accessing healthcare and adequate nutrition
  6. the role of livestock husbandry in securing adequate nutrition
  7. the role of wildlife hunting and consumption in zoonotic disease transmission
  8. the disease ecology of various infectious diseases (i.e. malaria)

In each of these research activities, we have collaborated with local organizations and trained American and Malagasy students to understand how to carry out interdisciplinary research.

Focal lemur species include:

  • Indri indri,
  • Varecia variegata,
  • Daubentonia madagascariensis,
  • Eulemur albifrons,
  • and others.
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