Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-4 (4)

Clipboard (0)
more »
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Old-growth forest is what giant pandas really need 
Biology Letters  2011;7(3):403-406.
Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are an iconic conservation species, but despite significant research effort, do we understand what they really need? Estimating and mapping suitable habitat play a critical role in conservation planning and policy. But if assumptions about ecological needs are wrong, maps with misidentified suitable habitat will misguide conservation action. Here, we use an information-theoretic approach to analyse the largest, landscape-level dataset on panda habitat use to date, and challenge the prevailing wisdom about panda habitat needs. We show that pandas are associated with old-growth forest more than with any ecological variable other than bamboo. Other factors traditionally used in panda habitat models, such as topographic slope, are less important. We suggest that our findings are disparate from previous research in part because our research was conducted over a larger ecological scale than previous research conducted over more circumscribed areas within individual reserves. Thus, extrapolating from habitat studies on small scales to conservation planning on large scales may entail some risk. As the Chinese government is considering the renewal of its logging ban, it should take heed of the panda's dependency on old growth.
PMCID: PMC3097871  PMID: 21227979
conservation policy; ecological scale; habitat suitability; giant panda
2.  Vocal cues to male androgen levels in giant pandas 
Biology Letters  2010;7(1):71-74.
Little is known about the potential of non-human mammal vocalizations to signal information on the hormonal status of the caller. In the current study, we used endocrine data and acoustic analyses to determine whether male giant panda bleats provide reliable information about the caller's current androgen levels. Our results revealed significant relationships between acoustic features of male giant panda bleats and the caller's faecal androgen metabolite concentrations. To our knowledge, this constitutes the first demonstration that the acoustic structure of a non-human mammal call has the potential to yield information about the caller's current androgen levels. We go on to discuss the anatomical basis for our findings and the potential functional relevance of signalling information on male androgen levels in giant panda sexual communication.
PMCID: PMC3030892  PMID: 20810426
vocal communication; giant panda; cues to androgen levels
3.  Giant panda conservation science: how far we have come 
Biology Letters  2009;6(2):143-145.
The giant panda is a conservation icon, but science has been slow to take up its cause in earnest. In the past decade, researchers have been making up for lost time, as reflected in the flurry of activity reported at the symposium Conservation Science for Giant Pandas and Their Habitat at the 2009 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) in Beijing. In reports addressing topics ranging from spatial ecology to molecular censusing, from habitat recovery in newly established reserves to earthquake-induced habitat loss, from new insights into factors limiting carrying capacity to the uncertain effects of climate change, this symposium displayed the vibrant and blossoming application of science to giant panda conservation. Collectively, we find that we have come a long way, but we also reach an all-too-familiar conclusion: the more we know, the more challenges are revealed. While many earlier findings are supported, many of our assumptions are debatable. Here we discuss recent advancements in conservation science for giant pandas and suggest that the way forward is more direct application of emerging science to management and policy.
PMCID: PMC2865067  PMID: 19864275
giant panda; conservation science; habitat analysis; spatial ecology; molecular census; sustainable populations
4.  Vocal discrimination of potential mates by female giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) 
Biology Letters  2009;5(5):597-599.
In the current study, we used male giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) bleats in a habituation–discrimination paradigm to determine whether females discriminate between the vocalizations of different males. We found that females habituated to the bleats of a specific male showed a significant dishabituation when they were presented with bleats from a novel male. Further playbacks, in which we standardized the mean fundamental frequency (pitch) and amplitude modulation of male bleats, indicated that amplitude modulation is the key feature that females attend to when discriminating between male callers. Our results show that female giant pandas can discriminate between the vocalizations of potential mates and provide a platform for further studies investigating the functional role of caller identity in giant panda sexual communication.
PMCID: PMC2781960  PMID: 19535366
vocal communication; habituation discrimination; vocal recognition

Results 1-4 (4)