|Date||29 Jan 2015|
The first aim of this study is to assess the niche partitioning between L. fleuretae and A. meridionalis in the Tsitongambarika Protected Area. This is important firstly because L. fleuretae and A. meridionalis are priority species for research and conservation, being almost unknown to science and yet listed as Critically Endangered and Endangered, respectively. The comparison between our data and the information known in forests contiguous to Tsitongambarika, will clarify if L. fleuretae is not present there due to competitive exclusion. In littoral forest habitat, for example, we hypothesize that L. fleuretae is not present because this habitat does not offer the niche required when in sympatry with A. meridionalis. In particular, we plan to:
The second aim of this study is to assess the conservation status of L. fleuretae and A. meridionalis by estimating the remaining population size in Tsitongambarika. We also plan to set-up field research station in the area of Tsitongambarika, which is among the sites which have been prioritized for research and conservation in the 2013-2016 Lemur Conservation Action Plan.
To assess the conservation status of the two species and facilitate long-term protection of the area, we plan to:
The ecological information collected on the two species are novel and will be essential to plan long-term conservation actions (e.g. this study will allow estimating the size of the remaining populations of these two threatened lemurs which are essential for the IUCN listing). This project is also pivotal to facilitate future research in the Tsitongambarika area. This area represents one of the largest expansions of lowland rainforest in Madagascar but very little is known about its animal and plant community. Thus, data on this habitat will represent a significant contribution to understand the complexity of the Malagasy environment.
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