The Brownsberg Nature Park (BNP) in Suriname is home to eight monkey species: Saguinus midas, Saimiri sciureus, Cebus apella, Alouatta seniculus. Pithecia pithecia, Cebus olivaceus, Chiropotes satanas (sagulatus), and Ateles paniscus. Several studies have undertaken the task to better study the feeding and behavioral ecology of these species within the park. However, studies on the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus) have been absent. As part of my thesis, I decided to conduct a baseline feeding and behavioral ecology study of this species during the period May 2008 – July 2008. In addition, I developed a field method for determining mercury levels (in parts per million = ppm) in fecal and urine samples of wild monkeys. Since the park is under enormous pressure from illegal gold mining activities, I decided to collect baseline data on potential exposure of wild monkeys to mercury in the environment. I also collected samples from monkeys at the zoo in Paramaribo and monkeys born in captivity at Hiram College in Ohio. I collected data on the frequency of feeding, resting, and traveling by black spider monkey subgroups every 10 minutes during all day follows. Feeding ecology data consisted of identifying fruits eaten by these subgroups. For the mercury analysis I used the OSUMEX LTD. home testing kit. Results from the behavioral data show the following frequencies of activities for the entire study period: 32% feeding, 43% resting, and 25% traveling. The feeding data further justifies spider monkeys as ripe fruit frugivores: 76% of food items consisted of ripe fruit, while 22% consisted of leaves, and 2% was comprised of flowers. The mercury testing results from the Brownsberg and zoo populations ranged between 0.025 ppm to 0.1 ppm (toxic level = 0.8 ppm). The Hiram College monkeys all displayed levels at 0.000 ppm. The results from the mercury analyses indicate that 1) wild monkeys in the vicinity of gold mining activities may not be under the same threat as humans, with regards to mercury exposure through food, and 2) that wild monkeys are still relative exposed to mercury in the environment whether it be natural or anthropogenic.
|Advisor:||Norconk, Marilyn A.|
|Commitee:||Meindl, Richard, Vinyard, Christopher|
|School:||Kent State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||MAI 52/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Wildlife Management, Toxicology, Surgery, Conservation, Zoology, Environmental science, Plant biology|
|Keywords:||Ateles paniscus, Behavioral ecology, Black spider monkey, Brownsberg, Feeding ecology, Methylmercury, Small scale gold mining, Suriname|
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