Demography of two avian frugivores in a recently fragmented rainforest in south-east Kenya


Adverse effects of tropical habitat fragmentation on the demography, behaviour and social organization of vertebrate species are still poorly known, especially in comparison with temperate zone ecosystems. Yet, findings from temperate areas cannot safely be extrapolated to tropical ones as organisms living in both regions often strongly differ in life history traits. Even less is known on how tropical landscape changes may affect biotic interactions and ecosystem processes such as frugivorous seed dispersal.

This study aims to combine conventional mark-recapture analysis with innovative genetic time-series analysis to estimate demographic parameters and dispersal probabilities in spatially-structured populations of two Afrotropical, avian frugivores. Stripe-cheeked greenbuls (Andropadus milanjensis) and Cabanis’s greenbuls (Phyllastrephus cabanisi) are known to disperse large quantities of tropical tree seeds in the highly-fragmented cloud forest of the Taita Hills in south-east Kenya. The ultimate goal of this study is to build individual-based Population Viability Analysis models linked to geographic data at landscape level (landuse, habitat, connectivity) for both species. Such geographic PVA models will allow us to calculate probabilities of population extinction under different scenarios of landuse change, either as a result of conflicting land uses or achieved through well-designed habitat restoration projects.


demography, habitat fragmentation, effective population size, phenotypical markers, fluctuating asymmetry, ptilochronology, population genetics, dispersal, landscape connectivity


Population and Ecological Genetics {Research discipline}
Terrestrial Ecology {Research discipline}
Landscape Ecology {Research discipline}
Genetic {Integration level}
Species {Integration level}
Ecosystem {Integration level}
International (non-EU) {Cooperation status}
Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable use of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Kenya {Geographical scope}
Forest {Habitat type}
Aves {Taxonomical scope}


Name Role Start End
Matheve, Hans admin
Callens, Tom member 2006-01-01 2009-12-01
Lens, Luc promotor 2006-01-01 2009-12-01
Matthysen, Erik co-promotor 2006-01-01 2009-12-01


Name Role Start End
Terrestrial Ecology leader


Reference Role
Callens T., Galbusera P., Matthysen E., Durand E.Y., Githiru M., Huyghe J.R. & Lens L. (2011). Genetic signature of population fragmentation varies with mobility in seven bird species of a fragmented Kenyan cloud forest. Molecular Ecology. author

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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