Climate, temporal abundance of key food sources and home ranges of crested macaques (Macaca nigra) in Sulawesi, Indonesia: a longitudinal phenological study

Marine Joly, Meldy Tamengge, Jan-Boje Pfeiffer, Megan Price, Muhammad Agil, Antje Engelhardt

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Abstract

Climate change is associated with more frequent extreme weather conditions and an overall increase in temperature around the globe. Its impact on individual ecosystems is not yet well known. Long-term data documenting climate and the temporal abundance of food for primates are scarce. We used long-term phenological data to assess climate variation, fruit abundance and home range sizes of the endemic and Critically Endangered crested macaques (Macaca nigra) in Tangkoko forest, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Between January 2012 and July 2020, every month, we monitored 498 individual trees from 41 species and 23 families. We noted each tree’s phenophase and assessed variation in climate (daily temperature and rainfall) and fruit abundance. We also investigated whether individual trees of known key food sources for macaques (New Guinea walnut trees, Dracontomelon spp, 2 species, N=10 individual trees; Fig trees, Ficus spp, 4 species, N=34, and spiked peppers, Piper aduncum, N=4) showed regular and synchronised fruiting cycles. We used 2877 days of ranging data from 4 habituated groups to estimate home ranges between January 2012 and July 2020. We created models to evaluate the impact of ecological factors (temperature, rainfall, overall fruit abundance, fig abundance). We found that the temperature increased in Tangkoko forest, and the overall fruit abundance decreased across the study. Top key fruits showed different trends in fruiting. Figs seem to be present year-round, but we did not detect synchrony between individuals of the same species. The macaque home ranges were about 2 km². Monthly temperature was the main predictor of home range size, especially in disturbed forest with previously burnt areas. This information will help to further monitor changes in the macaques’ habitat, and better understand ranging and foraging strategies of a Critically Endangered species and hence contribute to its conservation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Early online date4 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 4 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Food abundance
  • Ecological complexity
  • Foraging
  • Conservation hotspot

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