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Lemur species-specific metapopulation responses to habitat loss and fragmentation [PLOS One]

Subject Areas : lemurs, forests, species extinction, primates, metapopulation dynamics, habitats, biogeography, Madagascar

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Determining what factors affect species occurrence is vital to the study of primate biogeography. We investigated the metapopulation dynamics of a lemur community consisting of eight species (Avahi occidentalis, Propithecus coquereli, Microcebus murinus, Microcebus ravelobensis, Lepilemur edwardsi, Cheirogaleus medius, Eulemur mongoz, and Eulemur fulvus) within fragmented tropical dry deciduous forest habitat in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar. We measured fragment size and isolation of 42 fragments of forest ranging in size from 0.23 to 117.7 ha adjacent to continuous forest. Between June and November 2011, we conducted 1218 surveys and observed six of eight lemur species (M. murinus, M. ravelobensis, C. medius, E. fulvus, P. coquereli, and L. edwardsi) in the 42 fragments. We applied among patch incidence function models (IFMs) with various measures of dispersal and a mainland-island IFM to lemur species occurrence, with the aim of answering the following questions : 1) Do lemur species in dry deciduous forest fragments form metapopulations ? 2) What are the separate effects of area (extinction risk) and connectivity/isolation (colonization potential) within a lemur metapopulation ? 3) Within simulated metapopulations over time, how do area and connectivity/isolation affect occurrence ? and 4) What are the conservation implications of our findings ?(...)

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