Study: Prey Emit Warning Cues to Predators
May 29, 2015
SCBI's Paul Weldon and University of Tennessee at Knoxville professor Gordon Burghardt propose that conspicuous organisms arise when predator and prey populations interact. Conspicuous prey organisms are favored when predators, by chance, recognize and avoid their novel appearance. Organisms that are not distinguished by conspicuous features are attacked and perish. The mechanism they propose for this is called concurrent reciprocal selection because both the innate avoidance behavior of predators and the novel prey cues to which predators are averse appear coincidentally. In contrast to the traditional view of warning signals perceived visually, these researchers point to auditory, chemical and other types of prey signals to divert predators.
SCBI Studies Show Habitat Fragmentation Affects Gene Flow in India’s Leopard and Tiger Populations
July 31, 2013
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists analyzed the genes of these great cats in the Satpura-Maikal landscape—a 15,000 square kilometers area composed of four interconnected reserves: Kanha, Satpura, Melghat and Pench. From April-June 2009 and November 2009-May 2010, they collected scat (fecal matter) and hair samples for DNA analysis. This data, combined with India’s forest ecology history, enabled SCBI scientists to construct a definitive picture of how habitat loss affects the genetic diversity and gene flow of cat populations. Published in Evolutionary Applications and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, their research demonstrates that an intact forest corridor is vital for maintaining gene flow in these great cats.
New Genetics Research on Leopards and Tigers in India Underscores the Importance of Protecting Forest Corridors
January 14, 2013
As rapid economic expansion continues to shape the Asian landscape on which many species depend, time is running out for conservationists aiming to save wildlife such as tigers and leopards. Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute have used genetic analysis to find that the natural forest corridors in India are essential to ensuring a future for these species. According to two studies recently published in two papers, these corridors are successfully connecting populations of tigers and leopards to ensure genetic diversity and gene flow.