Time Constraints Do Not Limit Group Size in Arboreal Guenons but Do Explain Community Size and Distribution Patterns.
Korstjens AH., Lehmann J., Dunbar RIM.
To understand how species will respond to environmental changes, it is important to know how those changes will affect the ecological stress that animals experience. Time constraints can be used as indicators of ecological stress. Here we test whether time constraints can help us understand group sizes, distribution patterns, and community sizes of forest guenons (Cercopithecus/Allochrocebus). Forest guenons typically live in small to medium sized one-male-multifemale groups and often live in communities with multiple forest guenon species. We developed a time-budget model using published data on time budgets, diets, body sizes, climate, and group sizes to predict maximum ecologically tolerable group and community sizes of forest guenons across 202 sub-Saharan African locations. The model correctly predicted presence/absence at 83% of these locations. Feeding-foraging time (an indicator of competition) limited group sizes, while resting and moving time constraints shaped guenon biogeography. Predicted group sizes were greater than observed group sizes but comparable to community sizes, suggesting community sizes are set by competition among guenon individuals irrespective of species. We conclude that time constraints and intraspecific competition are unlikely to be the main determinants of relatively small group sizes in forest guenons. Body mass was negatively correlated with moving time, which may give larger bodied species an advantage over smaller bodied species under future conditions when greater fragmentation of forests is likely to lead to increased moving time. Resting time heavily depended on leaf consumption and is likely to increase under future climatic conditions when leaf quality is expected to decrease.