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Incorporating ecology and social system into formal hypotheses to guide field studies of color vision in primates

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Bunce, J. A. (2015). Incorporating ecology and social system into formal hypotheses to guide field studies of color vision in primates. American Journal of Primatology, 77(5), 516-526. doi:10.1002/ajp.22371.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-E754-8
The X-linked gene polymorphism responsible for the variable color vision of most Neotropical monkeys and some lemurs is thought to be maintained by balancing selection, such that trichromats have an advantage over dichromats for some ecologically important task(s). However, evidence for such an advantage in wild primate populations is equivocal. The purpose of this study is to refine a hypothesis for a trichromat advantage by tailoring it to the ecology of territorial primates with female natal dispersal, such that dispersing trichromatic females have a foraging and, by extension, survival advantage over dichromats. I then examine the most practical way to test this hypothesis using field data. Indirect evidence in support of the hypothesis may take the form of differences in genotype frequencies among life stages and differences in disperser food item encounter rates. A deterministic evolutionary matrix population model and a stochastic model of food patch encounter rates are constructed to investigate the magnitude of such differences and the likelihood of statistical detection using field data. Results suggest that, although the sampling effort required to detect the hypothesized genotype frequency differences is impractical, a field study of reasonable scope may be able to detect differences in disperser foraging rates. This study demonstrates the utility of incorporating socioecological details into formal hypotheses during the planning stages of field studies of primate color vision. Am. J. Primatol. 77:516–526, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.