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Seekar R.,Harvard Summer School | Seekar R.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Le N.T.P.,Harvard Summer School | Le N.T.P.,National University of Singapore | Harrison R.D.,Chinese Academy of Sciences
Tropical Conservation Science | Year: 2010

We analyzed the species composition and abundance of birds and mammals at a fruiting hemi-epiphytic fig (Ficus caulocarpa) in Maliau Basin, Sabah, Malaysia. Observations were conducted for 32 hours over five days. Forty-four species of birds and three mammal species were recorded. Of these, 28 birds and 2 mammals fed on the figs. In addition, nine species of insectivorous or omnivorous birds that did not feed on the figs were observed foraging in the tree, presumably on the large quantities of fig wasps produced. Inter- and intra-specific aggression was also observed among the species foraging in the tree. Overall the assemblage of large birds, such as hornbills, and mammals was poor, which seems to be due to the small size of the figs (<6 mm diameter) rather than a scarcity of these animals in the area. In contrast, the diversity of smaller bird species, especially the Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls) which comprised 13 species and 68% of visits, was high. Our results suggest fig-frugivore interactions may be more finely structured than reports from other, less pristine sites in Asia have indicated. Moreover, 34% of the birds observed are threatened or more severely endangered. We suggest that planting of hemi-epiphytic fig seedlings could be used to enhance the conservation value of small reserves and degraded forests, and that observations at fruiting figs could be used as an efficient method for assessing how well reserves are protected. © Rachakonda Sreekar, Nghiem Thi Phuong Le, Rhett D. Harrison. Source


Kamath A.,Harvard University | Sreekar R.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Sreekar R.,University of Adelaide
Acta Herpetologica | Year: 2016

Despite being common in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot, Golden-backed frogs (Hylarana, Ranidae) remain poorly studied. In this paper, we present some preliminary data on the morphology, behaviour, and habitat use of Hylarana intermedia, a member of the Hylarana aurantiaca species group. We find evidence for female biased size dimorphism, as well as potential shape differences between the sexes in this species. Additionally, we investigate the relationships between traits that may contribute to male conspicuousness (call rates, dorsal coloration, and body size) in two breeding habitats, a paddy field and a trench. Our results suggest both size-dependent and environment-dependent variation in call rate and colour in this species. Specifically, we find evidence against the adoption of sneaker mating strategies by small males in H. intermedia, and instead find variation both within and between populations in traits contributing to male conspicuousness. We conclude by proposing future directions for research on this common frog species. © Firenze University Press. Source


Sreekar R.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Saini K.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Rao S.N.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Rao S.N.,Colorado State University | Purushotham C.B.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Year: 2011

Roux's Forest Lizard, Calotes rouxii (Reptilia: Agamidae), does not exhibit distinct dimorphism characters outside the breeding season. Ornamentation and the swelling around the cloaca in males are the primary characters in determining sex and detectable only during the breeding season. We used univariate and multivariate analyses to determine if other morphological characters could be used to determine the sex of an adult Calotes rouxii outside the breeding season. We analyzed seven morphological features of 33 adult lizards from an Areca catechu plantation in Agumbe, Karnataka, India. Male snout-vent length (SVL) exceeded that of females and male head size (head length and head width) was greater than that of females with the same SVL. Males exhibited greater tail length and tail width, and females exhibited greater trunk size (trunk length and body width). All seven characters were used to correctly classify males and females with 100% accuracy. However, tail length and tail width were found to be significant morphological characters with very little overlap in values that could help in predicting the sex 96% of the time. © Rachakonda Sreekar. All Rights Reserved. Source


Sreekar R.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | Sreekar R.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Sreekar R.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Purushotham C.B.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The usage of invasive tagging methods to assess lizard populations has often been criticised, due to the potential negative effects of marking, which possibly cause increased mortality or altered behaviour. The development of safe, less invasive techniques is essential for improved ecological study and conservation of lizard populations. In this study, we describe a photographic capture-recapture (CR) technique for estimating Draco dussumieri (Agamidae) populations. We used photographs of the ventral surface of the patagium to identify individuals. To establish that the naturally occurring blotches remained constant through time, we compared capture and recapture photographs of 45 pen-marked individuals after a 30 day interval. No changes in blotches were observed and individual lizards could be identified with 100% accuracy. The population density of D. dussumieri in a two hectare areca-nut plantation was estimated using the CR technique with ten sampling occasions over a ten day period. The resulting recapture histories for 24 individuals were analysed using population models in the program CAPTURE. All models indicated that nearly all individuals were captured. The estimated probability for capturing D. dussumieri on at least one occasion was 0.92 and the estimated population density was 13±1.65 lizards/ha. Our results demonstrate the potential for applying CR to population studies in gliding lizards (Draco spp.) and other species with distinctive markings. © 2013 Sreekar et al. Source


Balaji D.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Balaji D.,Yale University | Sreekar R.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station | Sreekar R.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | Rao S.,Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2014

Biodiversity conservation in forested landscapes outside protected areas is important to sustain populations of species with restricted ranges. However, such habitats face many anthropogenic threats, including logging, extraction of firewood and leaf-litter for mulch in plantations. In this study, we determined the effects of forest degradation on amphibians and reptiles in forests outside protected areas by measuring their species richness and community composition across a disturbance gradient from near pristine to highly degraded forests in Agumbe, Western Ghats, India. Twenty-one strip 15. m. ×. 150. m transects were laid across the disturbance gradient and diurnal visual encounter surveys were conducted. Sampling was repeated three times per transect covering the dry, intermediate and wet seasons. Amphibian and reptile communities were affected by the decrease in canopy cover and leaf litter volume, respectively. Our results indicate that the collection of firewood and leaf-litter can severely affect amphibian and reptile populations. Structured conservation planning outside of protected areas is therefore imperative. © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. Source

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