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Title: Habitat ecology and primate gregariousness in Nigeria's Gashaka Gumti National Park
Author: Jesus, Gonçalo Oliveira Paulino de
ISNI:       0000 0005 0289 0294
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Research presented in this thesis focusses on the interplay between plant and mammal communities within a unique West African biome: the mosaic savannah-forest habitat of the Gashaka-Kwano region in northeastern Nigeria. The major strands of investigation encompass habitat ecology and animal sociality as shaped by a significantly seasonal climate and revealed through analyses of a longitudinal data set. The research is part of the Gashaka Primate Project (, one of West Africa's largest conservation and research initiatives, founded in the year 2000. The project operates in Gashaka Gumti National Park (GGNP) - a last remaining wilderness in the ecoregion that still harbours a biodiverse flora and fauna. At GGNP, a pronounced fluctuation between an annual wet and dry season strongly influences the vegetation and corresponding wildlife as well as human subsistence. This marked climatic seasonality affects plant cover and fruit productivity, giving rise to a seasonal pattern of food availability that constrains wildlife ecology and shapes activity budgets and reproductive features. These dynamics are specifically explored with respect to an unhabituated community of chimpanzees, and two study troops of baboons - an entirely wild-feeding group, and another group that supplements its diet through crop-raiding. With respect to the latter, the thesis explores if and how constraints imposed by habitat seasonality can be buffered by the consumption of crops. The current investigation capitalizes on the project's longitudinal repositories of base-line data covering a 13-year period (2002-2014), which were compiled, cleaned and analysed. The resulting thesis is broken down into seven chapters: - Ch. 01 Research rationale. Importance of long-term data and focus on seasonality - Ch. 02 The Gashaka Primate Project. Long-term research in Gashaka Gumti National Park - Ch. 03 Seasonality in a savannah-forest mosaic. Climate and plant phenology - Ch. 04 Chimpanzee gregariousness. Influence of abundance and dispersion of food patches - Ch. 05 Baboon behaviour. Activity budgets and home range use - Ch. 06 Baboon demography and reproduction. Comparing wild-feeding and crop-raiding troops - Ch. 07 Outlook. Enabling research and conservation at a biodiversity hotspot.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available