Surviving on a Risky Diet: Use of Molecular Tools to Assess Nutritional Stress in Three Endangered Frugivorous Lemurs

28 Nov 2022 Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, Africa Biodiversity | Mammals

Hasinala Ramangason

Other projects

27 Apr 2021

Spatio-Temporal Variation in Fruit Supply in a Highly Fragmented Landscape: Response of Frugivorous Lemurs

In a previous Rufford-funded project we investigated the impact of a devastating category 3 cyclone on the diet of frugivorous lemurs. We found substantial decrease followed by a shift in fruit availability patterns, resulting in a mismatch between the available nutritional landscape and the dietary diversity of frugivorous lemurs, suggesting they are undergoing extensive nutritional stress.

Eulemur rufifrons.

Eulemur rufifrons.

As a follow-up project, we will develop an efficient method to monitor nutritional stress in frugivorous lemurs. This project aims to lay the groundwork to establish biomarkers that signal nutritional stress in endangered lemurs to better identify nutrition-related emerging threats, now and in the future.

By characterizing the nutritional landscape available to frugivorous lemurs through phenology monitoring, combined with behavioural follows, nutritional modelling and modern molecular techniques (faecal functional genomics) we will assess the nutritional health of frugivorous lemurs during the fruit scarce and abundant season to understand how they are able to survive in hypervariable nutritional landscapes.

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