Weathering the storm: responses of forest wildlife to hurricanes [S-4]

Alison M Behie, The Australian National University

This symposium will compare the responses of different wildlife species to natural disasters to increase our understanding of the various adaptations used to survive following severe habitat destruction and allowing better mitigation of negative impacts following future events.

Over the last 13 years, the world has lost 43 million hectares of forest, meaning that wildlife that reside within these areas are being subject to habitat loss and increasing reliance on human modified landscapes. This alone will have significant impacts on both human and wildlife populations, however, when coupled with expected increases in natural disasters due to global climate change, this puts such wildlife populations in double jeopardy of extinction due to destruction of an already shrinking and modified habitat and a human population under greater stress. Despite this very real possibility, there are still relatively few studies that explore the impact of natural disasters on wildlife populations and those that do rarely compare responses across species. This symposium is designed to fill this gap by showcasing research done across different species of forest dwelling mammals that focuses on responses to and recovery from a hurricane event. While each presentation will focus on a single species, the discussion panel at the end will identify unified themes among animals to build a better picture of what features of species behaviour, biology, ecology or physiology provide the best resilience to natural disaster exposure. This symposium will thus provide novel information about how we may expect species to respond in the context of their overall behaviour and ecology to better mitigate future impacts of severe wind events in tropical forests.

Long-term monitoring of a primate population following a major hurricane (Alison Behie)

The Impact of Hurricane Otto on Baird’s Tapir Movement in Nicaragua’s Indio Maíz Biological Reserve (Armando Dans Chavarria)

Invasive mammal responses to experimental and natural hurricane effects in wet and dryland tropical forests of Caribbean islands (Aaron Shiels)

Effects of a major hurricane on bat species diversity and functional groups in a gradient of anthropic disturbance (Luz Sil-Berra)



Weathering the storm: responses of forest wildlife to hurricanes [S-4]