Aman (OuTrop Field Assistant) has embarked on a new research project to help us better understand how primates play a role in forest regeneration. The most important tool for his research…..primate faeces! Aman explains more in our latest blog.
We have started a new research project because we want to investigate the differences between the seeds that have been digested by primates, and those that have not. We have set up an experiment to compare germination rates of seeds (the process of a seed becoming a plant) from the faeces of gibbons and red langur monkeys, with seeds from fruit that have not been digested.
The findings from this project could help to make our nursery and reforestation project more effective as it will help us better understand the role of these primates in forest regeneration.
I wanted to help create this project to understand more about the forest and its primates. I have already worked in the forest for seven years, learning about its fauna and flora. Now, I can use my knowledge from both areas for one research project. I will be coordinating this project and recording data about the germination rates in our Seedling Nursery.
We hope, from this project, we can see how the different primate species are ‘gardeners of the forest’ and how far they are able to disperse seeds. We expect the seeds from gibbons to be more successful at germinating as gibbons have a frugivorous diet (eating mostly ripe fruit). We think that the seeds from red langur monkeys will be less successful at germinating because red langurs eat more unripe fruit, and appear to chew the seeds and break them down.
If seeds germinate successfully we can plant them in the forest and discover more about forest regeneration and the primates ecological role in the Sabangau Forest.