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Junker J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Blake S.,Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Radolfzell) | Boesch C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Boesch C.,Wild Chimpanzee Foundation | And 49 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2012

Aim: To predict the distribution of suitable environmental conditions (SEC) for eight African great ape taxa for a first time period, the 1990s and then project it to a second time period, the 2000s; to assess the relative importance of factors influencing SEC distribution and to estimate rates of SEC loss, isolation and fragmentation over the last two decades. Location: Twenty-two African great ape range countries. Methods: We extracted 15,051 presence localities collected between 1995 and 2010 from 68 different areas surveyed across the African ape range. We combined a maximum entropy algorithm and logistic regression to relate ape presence information to environmental and human impact variables from the 1990s with a resolution of 5 × 5 km across the entire ape range. We then made SEC projections for the 2000s using updated human impact variables. Results: Total SEC area was approximately 2,015,480 and 1,807,653 km 2 in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Loss of predicted SEC appeared highest for Cross River gorillas (-59%), followed by eastern gorillas (-52%), western gorillas (-32%), bonobos (-29%), central chimpanzees (-17%) and western chimpanzees (-11%). SEC for Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees and eastern chimpanzees was not greatly reduced. Except for Cross River and eastern gorillas, the number of SEC patches did not change significantly, suggesting that SEC loss was caused mainly by patch size reduction. Main conclusions: The first continent-wide perspective of African ape SEC distribution shows dramatic declines in recent years. The model has clear limitations for use at small geographic scales, given the quality of available data and the coarse resolution of predictions. However, at the large scale it has potential for informing international policymaking, mitigation of resource extraction and infrastructure development, as well as for spatial prioritization of conservation effort and evaluating conservation effectiveness. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


PubMed | CIFOR, Jardin Botanico Joaquin Antonio Uribe, Red para la Mitigacion y Adaptacion al Cambio Climatico de la UNAD, Herbario Universitario and 63 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2017

Tropical forests are global centres of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many tropical countries aspire to protect forest to fulfil biodiversity and climate mitigation policy targets, but the conservation strategies needed to achieve these two functions depend critically on the tropical forest tree diversity-carbon storage relationship. Assessing this relationship is challenging due to the scarcity of inventories where carbon stocks in aboveground biomass and species identifications have been simultaneously and robustly quantified. Here, we compile a unique pan-tropical dataset of 360 plots located in structurally intact old-growth closed-canopy forest, surveyed using standardised methods, allowing a multi-scale evaluation of diversity-carbon relationships in tropical forests. Diversity-carbon relationships among all plots at 1ha scale across the tropics are absent, and within continents are either weak (Asia) or absent (Amazonia, Africa). A weak positive relationship is detectable within 1ha plots, indicating that diversity effects in tropical forests may be scale dependent. The absence of clear diversity-carbon relationships at scales relevant to conservation planning means that carbon-centred conservation strategies will inevitably miss many high diversity ecosystems. As tropical forests can have any combination of tree diversity and carbon stocks both require explicit consideration when optimising policies to manage tropical carbon and biodiversity.


PubMed | Montpellier University, British Petroleum, University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University and 23 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2014

Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa.


Kawamoto Y.,Kyoto University | Takemoto H.,Kyoto University | Higuchi S.,Kyoto University | Sakamaki T.,Kyoto University | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Bonobos (Pan paniscus) inhabit regions south of the Congo River including all areas between its southerly tributaries. To investigate the genetic diversity and evolutionary relationship among bonobo populations, we sequenced mitochondrial DNA from 376 fecal samples collected in seven study populations located within the eastern and western limits of the species' range. In 136 effective samples from different individuals (range: 7-37 per population), we distinguished 54 haplotypes in six clades (A1, A2, B1, B2, C, D), which included a newly identified clade (D). MtDNA haplotypes were regionally clustered; 83 percent of haplotypes were locality-specific. The distribution of haplotypes across populations and the genetic diversity within populations thus showed highly geographical patterns. Using population distance measures, seven populations were categorized in three clusters: the east, central, and west cohorts. Although further elucidation of historical changes in the geological setting is required, the geographical patterns of genetic diversity seem to be shaped by paleoenvironmental changes during the Pleistocene. The present day riverine barriers appeared to have a weak effect on gene flow among populations, except for the Lomami River, which separates the TL2 population from the others. The central cohort preserves a high genetic diversity, and two unique clades of haplotypes were found in the Wamba/Iyondji populations in the central cohort and in the TL2 population in the eastern cohort respectively. This knowledge may contribute to the planning of bonobo conservation. © 2013 Kawamoto et al.


PubMed | Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, University of Bangui, University of Buea and 12 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2015

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies.


Hart J.A.,Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation | Detwiler K.M.,Florida Atlantic University | Gilbert C.C.,York College - The City University of New York | Burrell A.S.,New York University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

In June 2007, a previously undescribed monkey known locally as "lesula" was found in the forests of the middle Lomami Basin in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We describe this new species as Cercopithecus lomamiensis sp. nov., and provide data on its distribution, morphology, genetics, ecology and behavior. C. lomamiensis is restricted to the lowland rain forests of central DRC between the middle Lomami and the upper Tshuapa Rivers. Morphological and molecular data confirm that C. lomamiensis is distinct from its nearest congener, C. hamlyni, from which it is separated geographically by both the Congo (Lualaba) and the Lomami Rivers. C. lomamiensis, like C. hamlyni, is semi-terrestrial with a diet containing terrestrial herbaceous vegetation. The discovery of C. lomamiensis highlights the biogeographic significance and importance for conservation of central Congo's interfluvial TL2 region, defined from the upper Tshuapa River through the Lomami Basin to the Congo (Lualaba) River. The TL2 region has been found to contain a high diversity of anthropoid primates including three forms, in addition to C. lomamiensis, that are endemic to the area. We recommend the common name, lesula, for this new species, as it is the vernacular name used over most of its known range. © 2012 Hart et al.

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