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Field Sampling Overview

Over the course of this study, fecal samples have been obtained from sites in Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo (Map 1). In order to test the three main tropical diversity hypotheses of this study, our sampling strategy focused on sites that encompassed the following landscape features: (a) putative upland Pleistocene forest refugia (b) paired cross-bank comparisons along the Ogooué river and (c) forest-savanna gradients at the local and regional level.

Fresh feces (< 24 hours) were sampled from a variety of different habitat types at each site. For each sample, the location, GPS coordinates and major habitat type in which the sample was collected were recorded. Field sampling was divided up into three phases that broadly correspond to a survey of Gabon’s national parks and test of the ecological gradient hypothesis at the local level (Phase 1), test of the ecological gradient hypothesis at the regional level and survey of Cameroonian and Equatorial Guinean national parks (Phase 2) and finally a test of the riverine barrier hypothesis through cross-bank sampling along the Ogooué river in Central Gabon.

Phase 1: Sampling focused on sites within the Gabonese national parks of Monts Birougou (MFCH), Monts de Cristal (MCR), Ivindo national park (LAN, IV) and Loango national park (GA). Intensive sampling was also conducted along a local ecological gradient transect designed to span the forest-savanna contact zone and adjacent contiguous forest at Lopé reserve (LOP), in central Gabon. Two of the sites sampled in phase 1 of this project are located within candidate Pleistocene refugia (MFCH, MCR) and are thus critical to testing the role of past climate change in vertebrate forest mammal diversification. Additional samples were obtained through collaboration from Nouabale-Ndoki national park (ND/CO) in Northern Republic of Congo.

Phase 2: On this second phase of the project, we extended sampling to the Cameroonian equatorial rainforest belt of Lobéke (LBK) and Campo Ma’an (CPO) national parks and a savanna-forest ecotone site at Mbam Djerem national park (MBJ) in central Cameroon. Additional samples were also obtained from the Ebo Forest (EBO) to the north of the Sanaga river in western Cameroon and Takamanda-Mone landscape project (TAK) adjacent to the Nigerian border in North-western Cameroon. Sampling was also carried out another important candidate Pleistocene refugium in Equatorial Guinea, Monte Alen national park (MTA).

Phase 3: The final phase of field work was focused on pair-wise sampling scheme along the Ogooué river. Sampling began at the mouth of the Ogooué river in the province of Ogooué-Maritime (OMA), and extended upstream to Moyen Ogooué (MOO), Ogooue-Lolo (OLO) and finally the Haut-Ogooué (HAO). We also carried out sampling in Gabon within the western portion of Minkébé national park (MKB) and revisited Monte Alén national park to conduct additional sample at Monte Mitra, Equatorial Guinea.

  • Nicola M. Anthony
  • UNO, Dept. of Biological Sciences
  • 2000 Lakeshore Dr, New Orleans LA 70148