Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Anne Axel, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jayme Waldron

Third Advisor

Dr. Shane Welch


Primates living in seasonal forests must adapt to extreme fluctuation in resource availability. Verreaux’s sifaka ( ) live in Madagascar’s highly seasonal tropical dry forests and experience periods of extreme resource abundance and scarcity. Home- range and core-area size were measured using 95% and 50% kernel estimation, and 95% minimum convex polygons to compare seasonal shifts in space use based on resource availability. There have been no long-term space use studies on Verreaux’s sifaka; therefore, we do not know how their space use changes over time in an environment which is both highly seasonal and highly variable. Our study leverages over a decade worth of spatial data on Verreaux’s sifaka in Kirindy Mitea National Park to compare seasonal changes in home-range and core-area size as well as use Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data to see how home range and core area vary with seasonal fluctuations in food availability. We show shifts in home range and core area by mapping seasonal group ranges over seasonally averaged EVI values. Our study provides the most comprehensive analysis of space use in Verreaux’s sifaka. We found both home range and core area contracted in the scarce season, and EVI was a positive predictor of home-range and core-area size. This study supports the hypothesis that home range and core area contract during the resource scarce season as well as sheds insight into how these sifaka may respond to higher temperatures and drier dry seasons due to changing climate.


Verreaux’s sifaka -- Research.

Madagascar -- Climate.