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1 - Why Place Matters, and its Use in Primate Behavioral and Ecological Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2021

Francine L. Dolins
University of Michigan, Dearborn
Christopher A. Shaffer
Grand Valley State University, Michigan
Leila M. Porter
Northern Illinois University
Jena R. Hickey
University of Georgia
Nathan P. Nibbelink
University of Georgia
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Almost all behavior can be assessed spatially, paving the way for insights into both the proximate and ultimate causes of expressed behaviors. Field primatologists following their focal group or individual animal identify and record essential data about where salient behaviors occur because behaviors do not occur in random locations, but in relation to what the environment and habitat specifically affords to a primate with regard to traveling, foraging, defending a home range, finding mates, and fulfilling other basic and essential needs. Recording the “where” and also the “when” and the “what” of a traveling primate’s behavior in conjunction with the biogeography of the habitat is a multilayered, dynamic problem. The spatial analysis tools, global positioning systems (GPS), and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis provide a stable and powerful means to apply cutting-edge data and analytic methods to the study of free-ranging primate behavior. In this way, primatologists can address Tinbergen’s “Four Questions” of mechanism, ontogeny, adaptive value, and phylogeny underlying behaviors (Tinbergen 1963), and develop an overarching picture of their primate species’ patterns of behavior, habitat use, and life histories.

Spatial Analysis in Field Primatology
Applying GIS at Varying Scales
, pp. 1 - 6
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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