Investigating Niche Construction in Dynamic Human-Animal Landscapes: Bridging Ecological and Evolutionary Timescales
Human influence on the environment is evident at all landscape and ecological scales, from local to global, shaping both abiotic and biotic processes. Niche construction theory provides a means by which to investigate the consequences of these anthropogenic effects, but primatological research has been slow to integrate ecological and evolutionary timelines. We review methods that can be used to study how human niche construction influences nonhuman primates including phenological assessment, nonhuman primate behavioral observations, and ethnographic interview techniques. We argue that this approach provides a starting place to examine niche construction theory but that scholars of primate behavioral ecology must expand our methodologies to bridge the disconnect between ecological and evolutionary research time frames. We suggest areas of research and methods that have been underused but offer opportunities for integrative, innovative research. We conclude that an integrated, synthetic methodological approach is a major goal and that it will likely require a cross-disciplinary, collaborative effort.
KeywordsAnthropocene Ecology Ethnoprimatology Human–wildlife conflict and coexistence Niche construction theory
We kindly thank Erin P. Riley and Sindhu Radhakrishna for the invitation to participate in this special issue. We are grateful to Joanna Setchell, the Editorial Committee of the International Journal of Primatology, and the reviewers for their insightful comments. Finally, we would like to thank the University of Texas at San Antonio and University of Colorado–Boulder for institutional support.
- Alberti, M., Correa, C., Marzluff, J. M., Hendry, A. P., Palkovacs, E. P., et al. (2017). Global urban signatures of phenotypic change in animal and plant populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 201606034.Google Scholar
- Barker, G., Odling-Smee, J. (2014). Integrating ecology and evolution: Niche construction and ecological engineering. In G. Barker, E. Desjardine, & T. Pearce (Eds.), Entangled life: Organism and environment in the biological and social sciences (pp. 187–211). History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences. New York: Springer Science+Business Media.Google Scholar
- Bernard, H. R. (2006). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (4th ed.). Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
- Boitani, L., & Fuller, T. (2000). Research techniques in animal ecology: Controversies and consequences. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Boivin, N. L., Zeder, M. A., Fuller, D. Q., Crowther, A., Larson, G., et al (2016). Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 113(23), 6388–6396.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brower, J. E., Zar, J. H., & von Ende, C. (1998). Field and laboratory methods for general ecology (4th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Campbell-Smith, G., Simanjorang, H. V. P., Leader-Williams, N., & Linkie, M. (2010). Local attitudes and perceptions toward crop-raiding by orangutans (Pongo abelii) and other nonhuman primates in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology, 72(10), 866–876.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ceballos, G., Ehrlich, P. R., & Dirzo, R. (2017). Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1704949114.
- Chapman, C. A., Chapman, L. J., Wangham, R., Hunt, K., Gebo, D., & Gardner, L. (1992). Estimators of fruit abundance of tropical trees. Biotropica, 24(4), 527–531.Google Scholar
- Chapman, C. A., Twinomugisha, D., Teichroeb, J. A., Valenta, K., Sengupta, R., et al. (2016). How do primates survive among humans? Mechanisms employed by vervet monkeys at Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. In Ethnoprimatology: Primate conservation in the 21st century (pp. 77–94). Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. New York: Springer Science+Business Media.Google Scholar
- Davies, N. B., & Krebs, J. R. (2009). An introduction to behavioural ecology (3rd ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Dawkins, R. (1982). The extended phenotype: The gene as the unit of selection. New York: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
- Dore, K. M. (2017). Navigating the methodological landscape: Ethnographic data expose the nuances of “the monkey problem” in St. Kitts, West Indies. In K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley, & A. Fuentes (Eds.), Ethnoprimatology: A practical guide to research at the human–nonhuman primate interface (pp. 219–231). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Duxbury, N., Garrett-Petts, W. F., & MacLennan, D. (2015). Cultural mapping as cultural inquiry: Introduction to an emerging field of practice. In N. Duxbury, W. F. Garrett-Petts, & D. MacLennan (Eds.), Cultural mapping as cultural inquiry (pp. 1–42). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Evans, G. (2015). Cultural mapping and planning for sustainable communities. In N. Duxbury, W. F. Garrett-Petts, & D. MacLennan (Eds.), Cultural mapping as cultural inquiry (pp. 45–68). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Haraway, D. J. (2003). The companion species manifesto: Dogs, people, and significant otherness (Vol. 1). Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.Google Scholar
- Kwiatt, A. (2017). Food, feeding, and foraging: Using stable isotope analysis as a methodology in the study of urban primate dietary patterns. In K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley, & A. Fuentes (Eds.), Ethnoprimatology: A practical guide to research at the human–nonhuman primate interface (pp. 56–69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Laland, K. N., & O’Brien, M. J. (2015). Niche construction: Implications for human sciences. Emerging trends in the social and behavioral sciences: An interdisciplinary, searchable, and linkable resource. Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1002/9781118900772.Google Scholar
- Le Gros Clark, W. E. (1960). The antecedents of man: An introduction to the evolution of the primates. Chicago: Quandrangle Books.Google Scholar
- Loudon, J. E., Grobler, J. P., Sponheimer, M., Moyer, K., Lorenz, J. G., & Turner, T. R. (2014). Using the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) to examine questions in ethnoprimatology. PLoS ONE, 9(7), e100758.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Malone, N., Palmer, A., & Wade, A. (2017). Incorporating the ethnographic perspective: The value, process, and responsibility of working with human participants. In K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley, & A. Fuentes (Eds.), Ethnoprimatology: A practical guide to research at the human–nonhuman primate interface (pp. 176–189). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nekaris, K. A. I., Boulton, A., & Nijman, V. (2013). An ethnoprimatological approach to assessing levels of tolerance between humans and commensal non-human primates in Sri Lanka. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 91, 1–14.Google Scholar
- Newing, H. (2011). Conducting research in conservation: A social science perspective. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Odling-Smee, J. F., Laland, K. N., & Feldman, M. W. (2003). Niche construction: The neglected process in evolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Reale, D., McAdama, A. G., Boutin, S., & Berteaux, D. (2003). Genetic and plastic responses of a northern mammal to climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 270(1515). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2002.2224.
- Remis, M. J., & Robinson, C. A. J. (2017). Nonhuman primates and “others” in the Dzanga Sangha Reserve: The role of anthropology and multispecies approaches in ethnoprimatology. In K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley, & A. Fuentes (Eds.), Ethnoprimatology: A practical guide to research at the human–nonhuman primate interface (pp. 190–205). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Riley, E. P., Wolfe, L. D., & Fuentes, A. (2011). Ethnoprimatology: Contextualizing human and nonhuman primate interactions. In C. J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K. C. MacKinnon, S. K. Bearder, & R. M. Stumpf (Eds.), Primates in perspective (2nd ed., pp. 691–700). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Rodríguez, A., Rusciano, T., Hamilton, R., Holmes, L., Jordan, D., & Wollenberg Valero, K. C. (2017). Genomic and phenotypic signatures of climate adaptation in an Anolis lizard. Ecology and Evolution, 7(16), 6390–6403.Google Scholar
- Rothman, J. M., Raubenheimer, D., & Chapman, C. A. (2011). Nutritional geometry: Gorillas prioritize non-protein energy while consuming surplus protein. Biology Letters, rsbl20110321.Google Scholar
- Schmid, B. V., Büntgen, U., Easterday, W. R., Ginzler, C., Walløe, L., et al (2015). Climate-driven introduction of the Black Death and successive plague reintroductions into Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 112(10), 3020–3025.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shaffer, C. A., Marawanaru, E., & Yukuma, C. (2017). An ethnoprimatological approach to assessing the sustainability of nonhuman primate subsistence of nonhuman primate subsistence hunting of indigenous Waiwai in the Konashen Community Owned Conservation Consession, Guyana. In K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley, & A. Fuentes (Eds.), Ethnoprimatology: A practical guide to research at the human-nonhuman interface (pp. 232–250). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sprague, D. S., & Iwasaki, N. (2006). Coexistence and exlcusion between humans and monkeys in Japan: Is either really possible? Ecolgical and Environmental Anthropology, 2(2), 30–43.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, A. P., Bird, D. W., & Perry, G. H. (2017). Human behaviour as a long-term ecological driver of non-human evolution. Nature Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-016-0065.
- Vitebsky, P. (2006). The reindeer people: living with animals and spirits in Siberia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
- Wright, P. C. (2007). Considering climate change effects in lemur ecology and conservation. In L. Gould & M. L. Sauther (Eds.), Lemurs: Ecology and adaptation (pp. 385–401). Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. New York: Springer Science+Business Media.Google Scholar
- Zhang, X., Friedl, M. A., Schaaf, C. B., Strahler, A. H., & Schneider, A. (2004). The footprint of urban climates on vegetation phenology. Geophysical Research Letters, 31(12). https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GL020137.