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Title: Conservation and management implications of nest-site selection of the sympatric crocodilians Melanosuchus niger and Caiman crocodilus in Central Amazonia, Brazil
Authors: Villamarín, Francisco
Marioni, Boris
Thorbjarnarson, John B.
Nelson, Bruce Walker
Botero-Arias, Robinson
Magnusson, William Ernest
Keywords: Biological Survey
Breeding Population
Conservation Management
Habitat Conservation
Habitat Use
Hydrological Regime
Lake Ecosystem
Nest Site
Satellite Imagery
Site Selection
Source-sink Dynamics
Spatial Distribution
Caiman Crocodilus
Crocodylidae (all Crocodiles)
Melanosuchus Niger
Issue Date: 2011
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biological Conservation
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 144, Número 2, Pags. 913-919
Abstract: Management of crocodilians is often based on source-sink dynamics, protecting breeding habitat and concentrating hunting in other areas. Nest distributions shed light on habitat use by breeding populations, which might be used as a basis for monitoring and management. The heterogeneous spatial distribution of Melanosuchus niger and Caiman crocodilus in Amazonia has been suggested to reflect past hunting pressure, often underestimating the natural ecological peculiarities of these species. Ground nest surveys combined with satellite imagery allowed us to evaluate whether nest-site use by M. niger and C. crocodilus reflects environmental constraints or is a result of hunting pressure. Our results indicate that there is little evidence that hunting pressure shapes nest-site use of these species in our study areas. M. niger nests mainly on the shores of stable, temporally impounded floodplain lakes isolated from the early stages of the annual rising water of main rivers. This behavior facilitates the identification of suitable nesting sites using moderate-resolution remote-sensing tools and should guide monitoring efforts and the protection of these areas. In contrast, C. crocodilus is a generalist species, able to nest hundreds of meters inside the forest far from permanent water. This makes the occurrence and distribution of nesting-sites unpredictable using Landsat images. Although nests of this species can be found around lakes where nests of M. niger also occur, the protection of these sites might help to preserve only a small portion of C. crocodilus nesting females. Thus, conservation strategies for C. crocodilus should probably be based on different approaches. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.12.012
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