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Non‐invasive genetic censusing and monitoring of primate populations

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Arandjelovic,  Mimi
Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Vigilant,  Linda
Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Arandjelovic, M., & Vigilant, L. (2018). Non‐invasive genetic censusing and monitoring of primate populations. American Journal of Primatology, 80(3): e22743. doi:10.1002/ajp.22743.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-E85B-5
Abstract
Knowing the density or abundance of primate populations is essential for their conservation management and contextualizing socio‐demographic and behavioral observations. When direct counts of animals are not possible, genetic analysis of non‐invasive samples collected from wildlife populations allows estimates of population size with higher accuracy and precision than is possible using indirect signs. Furthermore, in contrast to traditional indirect survey methods, prolonged or periodic genetic sampling across months or years enables inference of group membership, movement, dynamics, and some kin relationships. Data may also be used to estimate sex ratios, sex differences in dispersal distances, and detect gene flow among locations. Recent advances in capture‐recapture models have further improved the precision of population estimates derived from non‐invasive samples. Simulations using these methods have shown that the confidence interval of point estimates includes the true population size when assumptions of the models are met, and therefore this range of population size minima and maxima should be emphasized in population monitoring studies. Innovations such as the use of sniffer dogs or anti‐poaching patrols for sample collection are important to ensure adequate sampling, and the expected development of efficient and cost‐effective genotyping by sequencing methods for DNAs derived from non‐invasive samples will automate and speed analyses.