Ranomafana (04.01.2015 to 06.30.2015)

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Year: 
2015
Quarter: 
April - June
Communications activities: 
  • Contributed to training and awareness of the TEAM project to the Stony Brook University Summer Study Abroad Program.
  • Presentation and contribution to the organization of the local Biodiversity (JMB) and Environmental (JME) day celebrations in Ranomafana as well as the national environmental (JME) day celebration held within the Ranomafana regional capital of Manakara. 
  • Presentations on the TEAM project in Ranomafana to groups of visitors at Centre ValBio - Ranomafana.
  • Presented components of the TEAM project and discussions of the benefit of long-term monitoring for other national parks with the Minister of Environment as well as U.S.. Embassy and USAID representatives during their visit to Centre ValBio and Ranomafana National Park.
  • Meeting with CI for technical changes for the next TEAM grant and with MNP for the future collaboration.
  • Regularization of IRSA, OSIER and CNaPS for the TEAM members.
  • Contributed to the endemic reforestation program at Centre ValBio.
  • Purchased equipment.
  • Meetings with local villagers in the villages near of TEAM site in which we distributed posters on the TEAM project and reinforced the local villagers understanding of the research and conservation implications of the project.
  • Assisted and advised researchers interested in including camera trapping techniques into their research projects.
Unusual Events at the TEAM Site: 

While independent of the TEAM monitoring protocol, we did find a unusual sigting of a primate species that was extremely north of its known distribution during this reporting period. While it remains uncertain whether the individual was dropped off by humans, escaped from a captive pet situation, or naturally dispersed north of its current known range - we found and followed a lone ring tailed lemur (Lemur catta) within the western part of Ranomafana National Park nearby the main road that bisects the national park.  Once sighted, the individual was followed and ended up travelling towards a fossa which subsequently killed it. Fortunatley, since we detected the individual just prior to the predation event, we were able to recover the lemur's body and examine it to gain insight as to where it may have originated from (Larney et al., in prep). 

New Species: 

No new species, but individual lemur (Lemur catta) found within the park, which is extremely north of this species currently known natural distribution (Larney et al., in prep.).

Protocol Activities: 

Vegetation

During this quarter (April through June 2015), the Vegetation team spent their time on voucher specimen collection and awareness in the village near the TEAM sites. Any newly recruited stems were tagged during this quarter. A total of 73 voucher specimens from the six TEAM plots were examined. Due to the timing of the phenology of the particular plants, we were able to collect only 15 fertile voucher specimens from the 26 unknown species. Table 1 summarizes the number of voucher specimen collected from each of the TEAM Ranomafana plots.

 

 Table 1. Total number of collected vouchers from the TEAM plots during the field voucher specimen collection

PLOT

1

2

3

4

5

6

Number of collected vouchers

10

14

15

14

12

8

 

All voucher specimens that were  collected during this period were photographed and preserved in alcohol immediately after collection. They were then dried at Centre ValBio's laboratory. About 100 voucher photos and around 73 voucher specimens were collected during the field voucher specimen collection (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Number of photos and voucher specimens collected from each of the six Ranomafana TEAM vegetation plots during this quarter.

 

A final list of identified plant species were given after the consultation at the PBZT herbarium references in Tsimbazaza, Antananarivo.  A total of 230 species were recorded and confirmed for Ranomafana TEAM plots.  The following table (Table 2) summarizes an update of the taxonomic groups of the individual stems within the six vegetation plots of Ranomafana TEAM.

Table 2. Summary of plants at the six TEAM plots in Ranomafana

Number

 

 

 

Plots

 

 

Total within all plots

1

2

3

4

5

6

Total plot stem individuals

755

1065

1426

959

1334

1094

6633

Families

38

46

44

38

42

44

57

Genera

62

78

76

64

61

74

120

Species

82

116

94

82

102

100

230

Unidentified at the species level

3

7

6

7

5

8

21

 

For the 6,633 individual stems within all six plots, approximately 169 individuals were not yet identified at the species level. It was very hard to have their fertile part for voucher specimen. While we continued to make a concerted effort for taxonomic clarification in collaboration with the national voucher reference collections in Antananarivo (in collaboration with Tsimbazaza and MBG), Table 3 shows the list of unidentified stems at the species level for TEAM Ranomafana.

 

Table 3. Unidentified stems at the species level for Ranomafana TEAM site.

Family

Genus

Species

Individuals

Icacinaceae

Cassinopsis

RNFsp1

1

Lamiaceae

Clerodendrum

RNFsp1

2

Lauraceae

Cryptocarya

RNFsp1

3

Lauraceae

Cryptocarya

RNFsp2

4

Lauraceae

Cryptocarya

RNFsp4

5

Arecaceae

Dypsis

RNFsp1

2

Rubiaceae

Ixora

RNFsp1

1

Rubiaceae

Lemyrea

RNFsp1

1

Salicaceae

Ludia

RNFsp nov

4

Meliaceae

Malleastrum

RNFsp nov

44

Rubiaceae

Peponidium

RNFsp1

11

Araliaceae

Polyscias

RNFsp1

27

Lauraceae

Potameia

RNFsp1

3

Lauraceae

Potameia

RNFsp2

2

Rubiaceae

Psychotria

RNFsp1

2

Rubiaceae

Psychotria

RNFsp2

6

Arecaceae

Ravenea

RNFsp2

11

Sarcolanaceae

Sarcolaena

RNFsp1

7

Myrtaceae

Syzygium

RNFsp1

24

Monimiaceae

Tambourissa

RNFsp1

2

Lamiaceae

Vitex

RNFsp1

7

Terrestrial Vertebrates

The pick-up for the 20 camera traps, at Array 2, were done at the same time. Due to a natural disaster, many fallen trees were found on the way to join the different camera traps points at Array 2. All camera trap images from the three arrays were uploaded to TEAM Portal and a TPK file was also sent to CI headquarter in Washington D.C. as well as transferred via the server. Table 4 shows the list of species recorded from Array 2 during this monitoring period.

Table 4. Species recorded at Array 2

Number

Genus

Species

1

Bos

primigeneus

2

Canis

lupus

3

Cryptoprocta

ferox

4

Cuculus

rochii

5

Fossa

fossana

6

Hemicentetes

semispinosus

7

Homo

sapiens

8

Lophotibis

cristata

9

Nesomys

rufus

10

Potamochoerus

larvatus

11

Tenrec

ecaudatus

 

A total of 1,624 camera trap images and 11 species were recorded from deployment in Array 2 (Maharira-Mangevo). Invasive species (Homo sapiens, Bos primigenius and Canis lupus) were also detected in this Array.

Since 2010, the maximum-recorded number of species was 24 (from Array 2 in 2011) and the minimum was 7 (from Array 3 in 2010).   Figure 2 shows the number of recorded species during annual monitoring across the 3 Arrays at Ranomafana TEAM site from 2010.

Figure 2. Number of recorded species across TEAM arrays from 2010.

As seen in  Figure 2, the number of species recorded annually since 2010 within each of the 3 arrays ranged between 5 and 24. The most species per monitoring period was recorded during the 2011 monitoring period. A potential influence through the years could be that the field monitoring during 2011 was conducted exclusively during the dry season, while in later years it has been pushed further back into the beginning of the rainy season.

At the end of this quarter's reporting period, all field equipment were cleaned, dried, and tested before storage.  All materials were inventoried.  Camera traps were re-tested for their accuracy and their functioning.  With the 30 cameras we used, about 5 cameras (RM 45 Rapid Fire) produced blurred photos and one camera (Reconyx Hyperfire) did not take any photos at all. The following table (Table 5) shows the serial number for those cameras.

Table 5: Serial numbers for the cameras that produced bad pictures or malfunctioned.

CAMERA SERIAL NUMBER

Note

P800HH02203262

New

RM13AC03003241

 Old

RM13AC05003848      

 Old

RM13AC02003114

 Old

RM13AC05003817

 Old

RM13AC03003375

 Old

 

All camera trap photos from the three Ranomafana TEAM Arrays were entered, annotated, and uploaded into DeskTEAM. A TPK file of all data was sent to the headquarters of CI in Washington, D.C.. 

 

CLIMATE

Monthly climate data collection and climate station maintenance every 15 days was regularly conducted.  All data were uploaded to the TEAM portal. Climate data from April to June didn’t show any major variation in relative humidity or rainfall, but there was in temperature. Average temperature decreased by 1.9°C from April to May and 2.5°C  between May and June (Table 6).  The TEAM climate station was running continuously without problems during this period.

Table 6: Variation in temperature, relative humidity, and rainfall (April 1 – June 30, 2015) 

Month

Temperature Avg (°C)

Rain Fal Avg (mm)

Relative Humidity (%)

Avg

Max

Min

Avg

Max

Min

Avg

Max

Min

April

19.5

27.5

11.2

0.016

4.86

0

90

100

34.4

May

17.6

25.9

8.6

0.019

4.8

0

92

100

33.4

June

15.1

25.8

8.3

0.024

5.59

0

92

100

43

 

The data collected from the TEAM climate station during this quarter shows that there was a decrease of 4.4 °C in temperature from April to the end of June, 2015 (Figure 3). However, the average of rainfall and relative humidity increased slightly (Figure 4 & 5).

Figure 3. Variation in temperature during this quarter's reporting period from the Ranomafana TEAM climate station

Figure 4. Variation in rainfall during this quarter's reporting period from the Ranomafana TEAM climate station

Figure 5. Variation in relative humidity during this quarter's reporting period from the Ranomafana TEAM climate station

 

 

Protocol Problems: 

While just after this specific reporting period  - In July 2015, an incident of theft and vandalism occurred at the meteorological station. One of the batteries was stolen and the wires between the solar panel and battery were cut. The damage was repaired and a letter of complaint was sent to the Gendarme in Ranomafana on July 22, 2015. We also bought timber to repair the fence.

Schedule Problems: 

None

Logistical Problems: 

Terrestrial Vertebrate Protocol: 

For the camera traps deployed during this period, 5 cameras (RM 45 Rapid Fire) produced blurred photos and one camera (Reconyx Hyperfire) did not take any photos at all. While the Reconyx Hyperfire camera was tested prior to deployement and at the time of set-up, it appears that a malfunction in the camera does not keep the batteries taught when set-up to the tree for deployment and thus we were unaware that this camera did not continue to take photos until after pick-up.