Term of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

C. Ray Chandler

Committee Member 1

Lissa M. Leege

Committee Member 2

Stephen P. Vives

Abstract

The ringtailed lemur (Lemur catta) population on St. Catherines Island (SCI) may serve as a model system for reintroduction. Free-ranging troops of ringtailed lemurs have been managed on SCI since 1985 and are monitored and provisioned daily. There has been no assessment of the effects of provisioning or seasonal dependence on provisioning to date. Ringtailed lemur troop home ranges and use of provisions were quantified to examine seasonal patterns and changes in relation to habitat quality of the home range. Activity, ranging behavior, and provisioning use were monitored for one year. Habitat assessment of forage species was conducted through stratified random sampling in each home range. There was significant variation among troops in the amount of provisions consumed and significant variation in amount of provisions consumed across seasons. Home ranges varied in size significantly among troops but not across seasons. Choice of natural forage varied across seasons. There was no relationship between habitat quality and home range size or use of provisions. These data suggest that provisioning ringtailed lemurs on St. Catherines Island does not appear to inhibit natural foraging and ranging behavior. This study provides useful information for managing, reintroducing or translocating troops of ringtailed lemurs.

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