Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa

 

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dc.contributor.advisor O'riain, Justin
dc.contributor.advisor Lewis, Matthew
dc.contributor.advisor Swedell, Larissa
dc.contributor.advisor Foerster, Steffen
dc.contributor.author Dubay, Shannon
dc.date.accessioned 2019-02-22T11:17:44Z
dc.date.available 2019-02-22T11:17:44Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.citation Dubay, S. 2018. Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/29751
dc.description.abstract In an ecological context, ‘flexibility’ refers to an animal’s ability to respond immediately to environmental stimuli through physiological and behavioural adjustments. Specifically, primates exhibit a high degree of ecological flexibility, which allows them to persist through environmental changes that vary in duration and predictability. To cope with the variability of conditions within their habitats, baboons have evolved flexibility in ranging behaviour, social behaviour, and diet. Natural disasters are predicted to increase across the globe, and many parts of the world are experiencing longer wildfire seasons and higher wildfire frequencies than ever before. The aim of this study is to use an existing data set to assess how baboons responded, behaviourally and physiologically, to an extensive wildfire. I compare home range use, activity budgets, faecal glucocorticoid concentrations, and urinary C-peptide concentrations three months after the fire to the same three months in the previous year for the same 16 adult females. In the months following the fire, the baboons had a larger spatial range compared to the same months in the year prior. The additional area incorporated unburnt areas into their home range, which were preferentially used over burnt areas. Behavioural adjustments included notably less time spent engaging in social behaviours than in the year prior. Perhaps most surprisingly, postfire physiological indicators did not suggest high levels of psychological, energetic, or nutritional stress, as glucocorticoid concentrations were significantly lower post-fire compared to the year prior, while C-peptide concentrations were not significantly different between the two periods. The troop appears to have benefited from a surfeit of exotic pine seeds that were released by pine trees as a result of the fire. This unexpected nutritional windfall, in addition to the inclusion of vineyards within their ranging patterns, may explain why there were no physiological indicators of nutritional stress despite the loss of most above ground biomass. Despite suffering the loss of 12 troop members in the fire and injury to a further 12 individuals, adult females in the Tokai troop were able to adjust to a severe and extensive change to their home range. Although primate ecological flexibility has been widely documented, this is the first study to explore the behavioural and physiological responses of baboons to extensive habitat changes resulting from a wildfire, and the potential implications for the management of wildlife on the urban edge.
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.other Conservation Biology
dc.title Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa
dc.type Master Thesis
dc.date.updated 2019-02-21T11:21:36Z
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MSc
dc.identifier.apacitation Dubay, S. (2018). <i>Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa</i>. (). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/29751 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Dubay, Shannon. <i>"Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa."</i> ., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/29751 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Dubay S. Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. []. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences, 2018 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/29751 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Dubay, Shannon AB - In an ecological context, ‘flexibility’ refers to an animal’s ability to respond immediately to environmental stimuli through physiological and behavioural adjustments. Specifically, primates exhibit a high degree of ecological flexibility, which allows them to persist through environmental changes that vary in duration and predictability. To cope with the variability of conditions within their habitats, baboons have evolved flexibility in ranging behaviour, social behaviour, and diet. Natural disasters are predicted to increase across the globe, and many parts of the world are experiencing longer wildfire seasons and higher wildfire frequencies than ever before. The aim of this study is to use an existing data set to assess how baboons responded, behaviourally and physiologically, to an extensive wildfire. I compare home range use, activity budgets, faecal glucocorticoid concentrations, and urinary C-peptide concentrations three months after the fire to the same three months in the previous year for the same 16 adult females. In the months following the fire, the baboons had a larger spatial range compared to the same months in the year prior. The additional area incorporated unburnt areas into their home range, which were preferentially used over burnt areas. Behavioural adjustments included notably less time spent engaging in social behaviours than in the year prior. Perhaps most surprisingly, postfire physiological indicators did not suggest high levels of psychological, energetic, or nutritional stress, as glucocorticoid concentrations were significantly lower post-fire compared to the year prior, while C-peptide concentrations were not significantly different between the two periods. The troop appears to have benefited from a surfeit of exotic pine seeds that were released by pine trees as a result of the fire. This unexpected nutritional windfall, in addition to the inclusion of vineyards within their ranging patterns, may explain why there were no physiological indicators of nutritional stress despite the loss of most above ground biomass. Despite suffering the loss of 12 troop members in the fire and injury to a further 12 individuals, adult females in the Tokai troop were able to adjust to a severe and extensive change to their home range. Although primate ecological flexibility has been widely documented, this is the first study to explore the behavioural and physiological responses of baboons to extensive habitat changes resulting from a wildfire, and the potential implications for the management of wildlife on the urban edge. DA - 2018 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2018 T1 - Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa TI - Behavioural and physiological responses of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to wildfire in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/29751 ER - en_ZA


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