Seed dispersal is a key process for the maintenance and persistence of plant communities and their respective forest areas. Among the animal dispersal vectors, primates are well known for their importance and dispersal efficiency, mainly due to their great variety of diet, habitat and body size. Assuming that seed dispersal is an accidental result of the dispersing agents' feeding activities, the distribution of the seeds throughout their home range occurs irregularly and varies according to factors such as daily distances traveled and gut transit time. In our study, we will focus on the black lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysopygus, Callitrichidae) as dispersal agents: a small neotropical primate, endemic to the state of Sao Paulo. Living in semi-deciduous and riparian forests, they are highly threatened by habitat loss and landscape fragmentation. Therefore, we aim to develop a spatially explicit individual-based simulation model (SEIB) taking into account the effects of edge and resource distribution on movement patterns and consequently on the functional traits of seed dispersal, such as dispersal distances and spatial distribution of dispersed seeds. We will follow a group of black lion tamarins in a forest fragment in Guarei (Sao Paulo) to collect the basic data necessary for the building of our model (time budget, feeding and defecation events and movement). Based on these data, we will develop the SEIB simulation model with internal decision process. Then, we will use field data to validate our model. We will work in collaboration with the authors of a similar model, the professors Ronald Bialozyt (Nordwestdeutsche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt) and Eckhard Heymann (Deutsches Primatenzentrum) from Göttingen, Germany.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: