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Sexual Partitioning in Diet and Habitat Use in Mandrills 

Mandrills are the most sexually dimorphic primates, with males on average weighing more than three times that of females. This presents an opportunity to study plasticity in diet and habitat use within the same species. Members of the ANPN team have been observing mandrills at the Lope National Park in Gabon, where female and young mandrills exploit a wider range of habitats, and travel within very large groups, while mature males range less and spend much of the year outside of the group. Given the rapid changes in forest structure and the decline of fruit resources, sexual difference in mandrill space use may be a useful model for how future increases in habitat and food availability may affect the prospects of at-risk populations.

This is a collaborative project between Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling, SUERC, and the ANPN in Gabon. Our student, Josh Bauld, has thus been collecting dietary items and mandrill tissue samples for stable isotope measurements, to assess the effects of local environmental resources on both diet and habitat use for both sexes. Isotope measurements are funded both by the NEIF and by Josh's NERC IAPETUS DTP studentship.

See also the meta-analysis Josh carried out to see whether size dimorphism associated with isotopic sex differences.

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