Environmental & Biodiversity Monitoring
Open habitat chimpanzee study sites are characterised by their extreme seasonality and open, dry, and hot environment (see here). Consequently, we have been actively monitoring the physical environment of the main study area since 2008, with temperature, rain, wind, and humidity loggers deployed across the study area. These sensors, deployed across vegetation types, reveal not only seasonality differences, but also inter-annual climate patterns . Additionally, phenology transects are walked monthly to monitor leafing and fruiting patterns of over 1000 trees, especially those known to be important feeding species for Issa’s primates.
One of the Issa weather stations is part of a network covering important conservation regions of the East African Great Lakes region and complements the existing weather station of identical type at the research centre. You can find the dedicated website for the data.
In addition to primate-focused studies, we also monitor all medium-large wildlife opportunistically, when evidence of their presence and behaviour is encountered in the forest. Some of these results, including densities and encounter rates are described in publications. See here and here (coming soon). From this work, we are building mammal and (amateur) bird lists, but lots more knowledge and research is needed to build these and also reptile/amphibian lists!
Two remote ways that we inventory wildlife is from camera traps and from acoustic sensors. Since 2011, GMERC has maintained a deployment of 30-50 motion triggered cameras, targeting wildlife paths and termite mounds throughout the study area. Our YouTube channel has numerous examples over this period, and we select a favourite video each month.
Watch this month's (Jan 2021) video below!