BaoBat: Multidisciplinary conservation of the baobab Adansonia suarezensis

We will study different stages of the life cycle and conduct conservation action to protect Adansonia suarezensis, one of the six endemic Malagasy baobabs.

Baobab tree Adansonia suarezensis

WP1 - Understanding pollinator competition between Adansonia suarezensis and other plant species. We will use field cameras to record and do analysis of the number and frequency of visits received by flowers. We will also conduct fieldwork to study distribution range of other plant species and the overlap in phenology.

WP2 - Investigating the interaction of animals with Adansonia suarezensis seeds. Malagasy baobab trees are a good example of plants without a known extant animal disperser. We will set field cameras to study the animals interacting with baobab fruits and will study the frequency of fruits eaten by animals found in the populations of A. suarezensis. Using the recorded images and videos, we will note the animal’s feeding behavior. These data will allow determining potential animal primary and secondary seed dispersers versus seed predators, but also the influence of human activities in these populations.

WP3 - Conserving the most threatened populations of A. suarezensis by planting seedlings in the populations. We will collaborate with Madagasikara Voakajy to build two new nurseries and carry out transplants aiming at increasing the genetic diversity of the populations. We will also plant other native species aiming at restoring the original condition of the habitats in terms of species diversity. We aim to engage with local nurseries and communities. We will set in-field experiments to investigate the survival of seedlings in the wild by planting seeds under different trees, soil, and microhabitat types.

Juan Viruel (PI) - RBG Kew
Onja Razanamaro - University of Antananarivo, Madagascar
Tonisoa Ivoandry - Madagasikara Voakajy, Madagascar

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