Habitat variation and its influence on the locomotor ecology of wild orangutans

Manduell, Kirsten L. (2013). Habitat variation and its influence on the locomotor ecology of wild orangutans. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Orangutans are the largest arboreal primate and have a diverse locomotor repertoire. The principal aim of this thesis was to explore the dynamic between morphology, behaviour and habitat to better understand the influences on orangutan locomotion. Positional behaviour data was collected at two peat-swamp forest sites: Sabangau, Central Kalimantan; and Suaq Balimbing, Aceh. We quantified forest structure and support availability in the dry-lowland forest of Ketambe, Aceh, in addition to the aforementioned peat-swamp forests and found that the three forests were structurally different. We used a remote measuring technique to compare limb morphology between species, and found they were similar suggesting selection for an optimal limb length. We found that habitat had a stronger influence on locomotion than either species or study site. Orangutans in different habitats had similar profiles of preferred supports, with the exception that the Sumatran species (Pongo abelii) had a preference for lianas. Orangutans in Sumatran peat-swamp forest used more compliant supports than recorded in dry-lowland forest. However, pronograde bridging was also used to negotiate the most flexible supports. This thesis has shown that habitat has a strong influence on orangutan locomotor behaviour, which is important since their habitat is becoming increasingly altered through human disturbance.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Biosciences
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4700


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