When good neighbors don't need fences: Temporal landscape partitioning among baboon social groups

Journal Article

Intraspecific competition is a key factor shaping space-use strategies and movement decisions in many species, yet how and when neighbors utilize shared areas while exhibiting active avoidance of one another is largely unknown. Here, we investigated temporal landscape partitioning in a population of wild baboons (Papio cynocephalus). We used global positioning system (GPS) collars to synchronously record the hourly locations of five baboon social groups for ∼900 days, and we used behavioral, demographic, and life history data to measure factors affecting use of overlap areas. Annual home ranges of neighboring groups overlapped substantially, as predicted (baboons are considered non-territorial), but home ranges overlapped less when space use was assessed over shorter time scales. Moreover, neighboring groups were in close spatial proximity to one another on fewer days than predicted by a null model, suggesting an avoidance-based spacing pattern. At all time scales examined (monthly, biweekly, and weekly), time spent in overlap areas was greater during time periods when groups fed on evenly dispersed, low-quality foods. The percent of fertile females in social groups was negatively correlated with time spent in overlap areas only during weekly time intervals. This suggests that broad temporal changes in ecological resources are a major predictor of how intensively overlap areas are used, and groups modify these ecologically driven spacing patterns at short time scales based on female reproductive status. Together, these findings offer insight into the economics of territoriality by highlighting the dynamics of spacing patterns at differing time scales. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Markham, AC; Guttal, V; Alberts, SC; Altmann, J

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 875 - 884

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0340-5443

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00265-013-1510-0