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Thesis title: The conservation and ecology of Borneo’s endemic primates
Start year: 2014
From 2007 to 2014 I have conducted research that contributes toward a synthesis of techniques to best inform conservation management schemes for the protection of endemic primates of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. To achieve this, I have conducted predictive and ecological niche modelling of the distributional patterns of the Presbytis and Nycticebus genera; assessed land-use policies affecting their persistence likelihood, and reviewed the location and efficacy of the Protected Area Network (PAN) throughout their respective distributions; conducted population density surveys within an under-studied habitat (tropical peat-swamp forests) and a small but highly productive mast-fruiting habitat, and founded a monitoring programme of Presbytis rubicunda concerned with establishing the ecological parameters (including behavioural, feeding and ranging ecology) required to advise conservation programmes.
The predictive niche modelling of Nycticebus distribution and the assessment of the impacts that the land-use policies threatening genus Presbytis on Borneo in the face of unprecedented habitat destruction demonstrated that the current PAN does not provide effective protection for these species. Data from 27 months of fieldwork provided convincing evidence that the unique, non-mast fruiting characteristics of tropical peat-swamp forests on Borneo has a profound effect on the ecology of Presbytis monkeys. Specifically, my research has shown that a low variation in fruit availability appears to facilitate the highest case of frugivory in a primate with an adaptation for folivory, resulting in the largest home-range recorded in the genus and the longest day-range length in any “folivorous” primate as they search for fruit. I have highlighted the importance of conducting population surveys throughout habitat sub-divisions, as differing vegetation characteristics have strong limiting effects on the presence, absence and density of primates, which consequently have implications for conservation management. This synthesis of conservation biology techniques has improved our ability to effectively conserve these threatened primates in this global diversity hotspot. I am now combining seven of the publications that have arisen from this work for a PhD by Published Research at Oxford Brookes.
Borneo; Conservation Biology; Ecology; Langur; Niche Modelling; Nycticebus; Peat-swamp Forest; Presbytis; Primatology
Conservation biology, primatology and rainforest ecology; population ecology, niche occupancy and modelling; responses of primate populations to anthropogenic disturbance
Monetary funding awards for the Sabangau Red Langur Research Project:
Since 2009, I have been directing the Sabangau Red Langur Research Project, an ecological monitoring programme of Presbytis rubicunda, an endemic colobine monkey of Borneo. We investigate the ecological parameters that inform conservation management decisions, and use the project as a platform for both training ecological interns and providing projects for undergraduate and post-graduate students’ theses. I also have a keen interest in avian distribution and ecology, and have led expeditions to survey bird populations in Borneo and South Africa.