Measuring urban habitat fragmentation: an example from the Black Country, UK
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AbstractThe processes of urbanisation have left a fragmented mosaic of habitat patches of varying size, shape and character with the result that from location to location the number and quality of contacts between patches varies considerably. Traditional measurements of this habitat fragmentation, and its converse, connectivity, have rarely looked at the landscape as a whole but instead have simplified it to specific landscape subsets, or else have looked at area-to-area relationships through generalising the landscape into homogeneous pixels or grids. In this paper the character of the whole landscape is examined at scales appropriate to the spatial variability of the urban environment. Using a direct measurement of patch-to-patch contact all contacts between all patches are examined and the relationship between all contiguous and connecting habitats is quantified. This is further refined to look at connections between patches of different quality, a measure that highlights the adverse effects of urbanisation as a whole on landscape connections between quality habitats. (SpringerLink)
CitationLandscape Ecology, 16(7): 643-658
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Rates of human–macaque interactions affect grooming behavior among urban‐dwelling rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)Kaburu, Stefano S. K; Marty, Pascal R; Beisner, Brianne; Balasubramaniam, Krishna N.; Bliss‐Moreau, Eliza; Kaur, Kawaljit; Mohan, Lalit; McCowan, Brenda (Wiley, 2018-10-03)OBJECTIVES: The impact of anthropogenic environmental changes may impose strong pressures on the behavioral flexibility of free-ranging animals. Here, we examine whether rates of interactions with humans had both a direct and indirect influence on the duration and distribution of social grooming in commensal rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected in two locations in the city of Shimla in northern India: an urban setting and a temple area. We divided these two locations in a series of similar-sized physical blocks (N = 48) with varying rates of human-macaque interactions. We conducted focal observations on three free-ranging rhesus macaque groups, one in the urban area and two in the temple area. RESULTS: Our analysis shows that macaques engaged in shorter grooming bouts and were more vigilant while grooming in focal sessions during which they interacted with people more frequently, suggesting that humans directly affected grooming effort and vigilance behavior. Furthermore, we found that in blocks characterized by higher rates of human-macaque interactions grooming bouts were shorter, more frequently interrupted by vigilance behavior, and were less frequently reciprocated. DISCUSSION: Our work shows that the rates of human-macaque interaction had both a direct and indirect impact on grooming behavior and that macaques flexibly modified their grooming interactions in relation to the rates of human-macaque interaction to which they were exposed. Because grooming has important social and hygienic functions in nonhuman primates, our work suggests that human presence can have important implications for animal health, social relationships and, ultimately, fitness. Our results point to the need of areas away from people even for highly adaptable species where they can engage in social interactions without human disruption.