SU Geography and Geosciences Department

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 17
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    From elephant memory to conservation action: using chili oil to mitigate conflict one elephant at a time
    (Wiley, 2021-07-05) Langbauer Jr, William R.; Karidozo, Malvern; Madden, Marguerite; Parry, Roger; Koehler, Samantha; Fillebrown, Julie; Wehlan, Trey; Osborn, Ferrell; Presotto, Andrea; Geography and Geosciences; Geographic Information Science
    Short Communication: Here we present a case study of an alternate method, disruptive darting, that can be deployed quickly on elephants visiting a location where they are not desired. This method deters an elephant from a specific location without killing it, which has obvious ethical and conservation benefits.
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    The role of hunting on Sapajus xanthosternos’ landscape of fear in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil
    (American Journal of Primatology, ) Suscke, Priscila; Presotto, Andrea; Izar, Patricia
    Habitats with spatial variation in food availability, predation risk, and hunting pressure allow us to study how animals resolve the trade-off between food searching and predator avoidance. We investigated the influence of food availability, predation risk, and the perceived predation risk on habitat use by a primate living under high hunting pressure, the yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys, Sapajus xanthosternos, at Una Biological Reserve (ReBio Una). We hypothesized that the hunting pressure occurring in the capuchins’ home range would favor predator avoidance to the detriment of searching for food. We characterized a set of covariates related to resources availability (fruit and invertebrate biomasses, feeding on dispersed and clumped food items, sleeping sites), perceived predation risk (alarm calls given to terrestrial and aerial predators, silent group movement, and vigilance behavior), and actual predation risk (evidence of hunting) and estimated their effects on how one group of capuchin monkeys uses its habitat. The group divides its time among three major forest types within their home range: agroforest, mature and secondary. Our results suggest that the actual and perceived risk of hunting by humans, as well as the perceived predation risk by both terrestrial and aerial predators were significant determinants of capuchin monkeys’ space use. Yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys’ space use was negatively related to the risk of hunting by humans (actual evidence and silent behavior), the perceived risk of predation by both aerial and terrestrial predators, and to the presence of sleeping sites. The biomass of fruits in a habitat did not relate to capuchin monkeys’ space use and the biomass of invertebrates had a very low positive effect. We confirmed our prediction that in a habitat with high hunting pressure, the risk of predation, both perceived and actual, had a more significant impact on how yellow-breasted capuchins used the habitat than did food availability.
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    Rare nonhuman primate tool-use culture is threatened by land use changes in northeastern Brazil
    (Springer Nature, 2020-07-02) Presotto, Andrea; Remillard, Caren; Spagnoletti, Noemi; Salmi, Roberta; Verderane, Michele; Stafford, Kathleen; Santos, Ricardo Rodrigues dos; Madden, Marguerite; Fragaszy, Dorothy; Visalberghi, Elisabetta; Izar, Patricia; Geography and Geosiences
    Animal traditions are increasingly threatened by human impact on natural habitats, posing a challenge to conservation policies. In northeastern Brazil, bearded capuchins (Sapajus libidinosus) inhabiting the Cerrado–Caatinga biome of Fazenda Boa Vista use stone hammers and anvils to crack open palm nuts and other encased foods. The same species inhabiting the mangroves of Morro do Boi ambush crabs and process them using wooden hammers and anvils. These traditions are gradually acquired by young capuchins exposed to the tool using activity of skilled older group members. Changes in land cover have threatened the persistence of this species, where these rare tool-use traditions occur. To assess land cover changes over the past 30 years, we analyzed a time series of remotely sensed imagery and quantified trends in land cover and agriculture across both study sites. We also developed a predictive model to forecast future changes in land cover by 2034. Our results show that agriculture increased by more than 300% in both sites from 1987 to 2017. If current trends continue in Morro do Boi, only 42% of forest (0.15 km2) will remain, which is insufficient to support the resident population of capuchins. In Fazenda Boa Vista, most of the land suitable for agriculture has already been used for that purpose. If private conservation efforts at Fazenda Boa Vista are to be effective through 2034, agricultural use should not be expanded any further. Imminent erosion and loss of natural vegetation will exacerbate the current situation, even if agriculture is not expanded. Our study is an example of the need for conservation to take behavioral traditions into account, as they are not widespread across the species distribution.
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    Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges
    (2019-01-21) Presotto, Andrea
    These files are datasets for an article published in the journal Animal Cognition (Presotto, A., Fayrer-Hosken, R., Curry, C. et al. Spatial mapping shows that some African elephants use cognitive maps to navigate the core but not the periphery of their home ranges. Anim Cogn 22, 251–263 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10071-019-01242-9): Strategies of navigation have been shown to play a critical role when animals revisit resource sites across large home ranges. The habitual route system appears to be a sufficient strategy for animals to navigate while avoiding the cognitive cost of traveling using the Euclidean map. We hypothesize that wild elephants travel more frequently using habitual routes to revisit resource sites as opposed to using the Euclidean map. To identify the elephants’ habitual routes, we created a python script, which accounted for frequently used route segments that constituted the habitual routes. Results showed elephant navigation flexibility traveling at Kruger National Park landscape. Elephants shift strategies of navigation depend on the familiarity of their surroundings. In the core area of their home range, elephants traveled using the Euclidean map, but intraindividual differences showed that elephants were then converted to habitual routes when navigating within the less familiar periphery of their home range. These findings are analogous to the recent experimental results found in smaller mammals that showed that rats encode locations according to their familiarity with their surroundings. In addition, as recently observed in monkeys, intersections of habitual routes are important locations used by elephants when making navigation decisions. We found a strong association between intersections and new segment usage by elephants when they revisit resource sites, suggesting that intersection choice may contribute to the spatial representations elephants use when repeatedly revisiting resource sites.