Primate Research Institute>Section of Ecology and Conservation top>Section of Ecology and Conservation project


Last update: 1st June, 2017


1. Relationships between primates and forest or other organisms (Yumoto, Hanya, Terada)

We conduct basic studies for the conservation of primates, from the view points of forest structure and fruit production under the progress of fragmentation and deterioration of tropical and subtropical forests.

Takakazu Yumoto and Saeko Terada study how great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas) use their environments of African tropical forest, which is constituted by diverse forest vegetation types.

Goro Hanya and his collaborators study the relationships between primates and other organisms living sympatrically with them. We study the frugivore assembledge in fruiting fig trees and the mechanism of spore dispersal through mycophagy of Japanese macaques.


Left: plant survey in Wamba forest, where bonobos live, middle: feeding experiment for the study of spore dispersal, right: observing animals in a Ficus superba tree

2. Behavioural ecology, population ecology, and gut microbes in Japanese macaques (Hanya, Kurihara, Nishikawa, Honda, Nakamura, Lee)

We conduct filed studies of wild Japanese macaques, such as population ecology, feeding ecology and behavioral ecology in their natural environment, with special reference to the effect of their habitat.

In Yakushima, Goro Hanya conducts long-term studies on the population changes of Japanese macaques with many colleagues. The main purpose is to clarify the effect of logging and supra-annual changes in fruit production on population density and birth rate. Every summer, we conduct census with more than 40 volunteers, who joined from all over Japan. This research group is Yakuzaru-Chosa-tai (Yakushima Macaque Research Group)

 Takeaki Honda studies seasonality in diets habitat use of Japanese macaques living in summit area of Yakushima.

 Several members work on Japanese macaques in coastal area of Yakushima: Mari Nishikawa studies grouping mechanism and nocturnal behaviours; Yosuke Kurihara studies feeding ecology and inter-group relationships; and Izumi Nakamura studies to find determinants of fruit selectivity.

 Lee Wanyi compares gut microbes of Japanese macaques among wild groups of Yakushima, provisioned groups of Koshima, and captive groups in PRI in order to clarify how habitat environments influence gut microbes.


Left: Yakushima macaque research group, middle: camp in Yakushima, right: research station in Koshima

3. Socioecological studies of primates in Southeast Asian tropical rain forests (Hanya)

 Goro Hanya studies the ecogical mechanism of multiple primate species coexistence and feeding ecology of red leaf monkeys in Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We are particularly interested in the effects of mast fruting, which is a unique character of the Southeast Asian tropics.


Left: Hanya with Malaysian research assistants, middle: A Bornean orangutan, right: red leaf monkeys

4. Primate ecology in African tropical forest (Hashimoto, Takemoto, Mouri, Tokushige, Toge, Hongo)

 We study primate behavioural ecology in African tropical forest, where human ancestors evolved and now harbors various primates including four great ape species.

 Chie Hashimoto studies society, ecology, and genetics of chimapanzees and bonobos at Kalinzu forest in Uganda and Wamba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, respectively. Hiroyuki Takemoto conducts comparative studies on ecology of Pan species including chimpanzees at Bossou (Western Africa) and Kalinzu (Eastern Africa) and bonobos at Wamba (Central Africa). He investigates relationships between forest environments and behaviours of the Pan apes in the three populations to identify the factors which have caused the intra-generic diversity in ecology and behaviours.


Left: bonobos in Wamba, right: chimpanzees in Kalinzu

 In Kalinzu, we also study feeding behaviours of sympatric guenon species (red-tail monkey, blue monkey, and L'Hoest monkey). Emi Tokushige studies their parasitic nematodes by analysing their faeces. Akisato Toge compares their diets from behavioural observation and faecal DNA analysis.


Left: a red-tail monkey, middle: a blue monkey, left: a L'Hoest monkey

 Shun Hongo conducts fieldwork in Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, Gabon, for studying social system, ecology and sexual selection in the mandrill, a primate species forming extremely large groups of 300-800 individuals.


Left: an adult male mandrill, right: a mandrill group in Moukalaba-Doudouk

5. Feeding ecology in New World monkeys (Nishikawa, Take, Yumoto)

 We study feeding ecology in New World monkeys in Central and South American forests.

 Some New World monkeys show colour vision polymorphism. In such species, trichromats and dichromats live in the same group. Mari Nishikawa studies white-throated capuchins at Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica, to clarify influences of colour vision on their feeding behaviours.


Left: a white-throated capuchin, right: Guettarda macrosperma, whose fruits are eaten by capuchins

 Makiko Take and Takakazu Yumoto conduct ecological research of Amazonian primates as members of the international project "Biodiversity Conservation in Amazon based on a new concept of Field Museum" with the partenership between Kyoto University and National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA). We study three sympatric New World monkeys (pied tamarins, common squirrel monkeys, and golden-faced sakis) living in a fragmented forest in Manaus, Brazil, in order to know their adaptiveness to the human-induced environments and establish conservation policies.


Left: a pied tamarin, middle: a common squirrel monkey, right: a male golden-faced saki

6. Evolution of hygiene behaviour and disgust (Sarabian)

 Cecile Sarabian investigates primate behaviour and parasite infection, with emphasis on parasite/pathogen avoidance strategies in Papionini and Hominini and the evolutionary origins of hygiene and disgust.

 So far, I conducted research on food-processing and faeces avoidance behaviours in relation to parasite infection in the famous Japanese macaques of Koshima island, Japan; sensory cues eliciting revulsion and parasite infection-risk avoidance in long-tailed macaques, mandrills and chimpanzees at the Centre International de Recherches Medicales de Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon; and contamination-sensitivity in bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My work integrates field-experiments, behavioural observations, parasite identification and quantification, outreach and loads of replica faeces.


Left: field experiment on Japanese macaques in Koshima island, middle: presentation at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, right: experiment on mandrills at CIRMF


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