PhD Student; Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Location: Palenque, Mexico
Research: Seed dispersal by black howler monkeys, dung-beetles and forest regeneration in continuous and fragmented habitat in Palenque, Mexico
Species/Topic: Black howler monkeys and dung-beetles
Abstract: Human induced destruction and fragmentation of tropical rainforests alters the natural process of forest regeneration that occurs through interactions between fruit-eating primates, the plants that are their sources of food, and the resulting dispersal of seeds via their feces. Dung-beetles attracted to monkey dung bury the dung and seeds, allowing the escape of the latter from rodent predation. However, dung-beetles are also impacted by anthropogenic changes and this may result in reductions in their populations resulting in less seeds escaping predation. Our study will document the ecological link between black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) and dung-beetles in the process of rainforest regeneration in continuous and in fragmented forests in the region of Palenque, Mexico, under the premise that the conservation of such a link can be an important tool to accelerate rainforest restoration in human modified landscapes.