MS Environmental Biology
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
Deforestation negatively impacts wildlife populations, specifically through the establishment of forest fragments – the breaking up of forest into small disconnected patches which increases the edge to interior ratio. Forest fragments are either created naturally or by anthropogenic causes. While both exhibit negative impacts on wildlife populations, anthropogenic edges may more negatively impact an animal population’s group size and sex ratio, which are vital to a population’s reproductive success and survival. The purpose of this research project is to gain insight into the effects of both natural and anthropogenic forest edges on white-faced capuchin’s (Cebus capucinus) group size and sex ratio. The research will be conducted at La Suerte Biological Field Station (LSBFS) in Costa Rica, under the guidance of Dr. Amy Schreier. It is hypothesized that vegetation richness and tree diameter at breast height (DBH) are higher in natural edges compared to anthropogenic edges, creating varying levels of food sources and habitat. Therefore, I predict that C. capucinus will have smaller group sizes and less even sex ratios in the anthropogenic edge compared to the natural edge because of the limited DBH and tree species richness present in the anthropogenic edge. I will record the number and sex of individuals in a group within a twenty-meter radius. This research will help to increase the understanding of the negative effects of forest edges and deforestation on animal populations. It will be the first of its kind within this study site and will have implications for conservation globally.
Date of Award
© Elizabeth Sheehan
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Sheehan, Elizabeth, "MS Environmental Biology Capstone Project" (2018). Student Publications. 879.