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Primates

, 50:81 | Cite as

Choice of analytical method can have dramatic effects on primate home range estimates

  • Cyril C. GrueterEmail author
  • Dayong Li
  • Baoping Ren
  • Fuwen Wei
Short Communication

Abstract

Primate home range sizes can vary tremendously as a consequence of the analytical technique chosen to estimate home range. This is exemplified by a recent dataset on free ranging snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) in Northwest Yunnan, China. Our findings show that the grid cell method cannot substitute for the minimum convex polygon (MCP) method and vice versa. MCP-based estimates are far too large, especially when the form of the home range is irregular due to forays into peripheral areas. Here, we propose an adjusted polygon method, whereby unsuitable and never visited areas are clipped out from the polygon, thus producing more accurate results. Compared to the grid cell method, the adjusted MCP is much more robust when the number of group relocations is limited; MCP turned out to be the method of choice for calculation of monthly and seasonal home ranges. The grid cell method on the other hand yielded the most precise estimates for total or annual home ranges. The style of ranging exhibited by a given primate taxon or population determines which analytical procedures should be applied to estimate home range size, and we would stress the need for thorough evaluation of the pros and cons of home range estimators before conducting field work and analysing data.

Keywords

Grid cell method Home range estimates Minimum convex polygon Primate 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Jiaoyan Zhuang is acknowledged for helping with GIS analyses, and Lao Feng, Xuesheng Feng and Xuewen Feng for helping with GPS data collection. The following granting agencies supported the research: Janggen-Pöhn-Stiftung, A. H. Schultz Stiftung, Zürcher Tierschutz, Zoological Society of San Diego, Offield Family Foundation, Primate Conservation, Inc., G. & A. Claraz-Schenkung, Goethe-Stiftung, Schweizerische Akademie der Naturwissenschaften SANW, and Primate Action Fund of Conservation International.

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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cyril C. Grueter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dayong Li
    • 2
  • Baoping Ren
    • 3
  • Fuwen Wei
    • 3
  1. 1.Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of Zurich-IrchelZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Qinling Golden Snub-nosed Monkey Research Centre, College of Life ScienceNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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