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Hanya G & Chapman CA (2013) Linking feeding ecology and population abundance: a review of food resource limitation on primates. Ecological Research 28: 183-190.

We review studies that consider how food affects primate population abundance. In order to explain spatial variation in primate abundance, various correlates which parameterize quality and quantity of food in the habitat have been examined. We propose two hypotheses concerning how resource availability and its seasonality determine animal abundance. When the quality of fallback foods (foods eaten during the scarcity of preferred foods) is too low to satisfy nutritional requirement, total annual food quantity should determine population size, but this relationship can be modified by the quality or the quantity of fallback foods. This mechanism has been established for Japanese macaques and sportive lemurs that survive lean seasons by fat storage or extremely low metabolism. Second, when fallback food quality is high enough to satisfy nutritional requirement but quantity is limited, quantity of fallback food should be a limiting factor of animal abundance. This is supported by the correlation between fig density, which is a high-quality fallback foods, and gibbon and orangutan abundance. For a direct test of these hypotheses, we need more research that determines both the quality of food that animals require to satisfy their nutritional requirement and the quantity of food production. Leaves are often regarded as superabundant, but this assumption needs a careful examination.

Key words: bottleneck; population density; fallback food; nutrition; seasonality

<Written by: Goro Hanya (hanya<atmark>>
<Contact: Goro Hanya (hanya<atmark>>
<Last update: November 26, 2012>