Food supply and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) party size in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

Newton-Fisher, N.E. and Reynolds, V. and Plumptre, A.J. (2000) Food supply and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) party size in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. International Journal of Primatology, 21 (4). pp. 613-628. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

A central issue in socioecology is the nature of the relationship between an organism's environment and its social structure. In chimpanzees the fission-fusion social system is thought to minimize feeding competition for primary dietary components: ephemeral, dispersed patches of ripe fruit. Intragroup feeding competition is thought to force individuals into small parties. Informal observations in the Sonso region of the Budongo forest had suggested that in this habitat food supply was such that feeding competition was less important in determining grouping patterns than elsewhere. We used data collected on food supply and party sizes over a 4-year period to investigate this suggestion. In accord with theoretical expectation, sizes of foraging parties fluctuated with the size of food patches. However; party sizes showed either negative or no relationship with habitat-wide measures of food abundance. Likewise party sizes showed little relationship to overall measures of food dispersion. For important dietary items, both fruit and leaves had patchy distributions, though the degree of clumping was not strong, and fruit was not more clumped than leaves. Generally, abundant food appeared to be less patchy, and chimpanzees appeared to use more patches as food became more abundant rather than forming larger parties. We suggest that both dispersal and abundance need robe considered when investigating the impact of food supply on grouping patterns, and that the importance of food as a factor in determining chimpanzee grouping patterns declines with increasing levels of abundance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: food abundance; party size; chimpanzee; Pan troglodytes; Budongo Forest Reserve; Uganda PATCH; DIET
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Nicholas E. Newton-Fisher
Date Deposited: 26 May 2011 23:28
Last Modified: 26 May 2011 23:28
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/27830 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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