Dja Biosphere Reserve, Cameroon

Region: Africa

During the past 20 years, scientists from the Center for Tropical Research have been conducting research in the Dja Biosphere Reserve (DBR), a UNESCO World Heritage site located in South Central Cameroon. The reserve comprises over 500,000 hectares, making it one of Central Africa's largest protected areas. Research began in 1993 with the establishment of the Bouamir research camp and 25-square-kilometer study site located near the center of the reserve. Since that time, research has focused on the role of vertebrate seed dispersers, particularly birds and primates, the impacts of hunting on vertebrate populations and on the genetics of the trees they disperse, conservation genetics, mechanisms of speciation, and disease research, both in the reserve and in adjacent areas.

Current Projects

Video

Tracking Hornbill Movements in Cameroon

UCLA's International Research & Training Center in Cameroon hosts researchers such as Prof. Tom Smith and his team from the Center for Tropical Research. Prof. Smith leads the IRTC and shows here how the research team captures hornbill birds and attaches a satellite tracking device in order to track their movements across the Congo Basin for the first time.

Related Publications

2014
Anthony, N. M.; Atteke, C.; Bruford, M. W.; Dallmeier, F.; Freedman, A.; Hardy, O.; Ibrahim, B.; Jeffery, K. J.; Johnson, M.; Lahm, S. A.; Lepengue, N.; Lowenstein, J. H.; Maisels, F.; Mboumba, J.; Mickala, P.; Morgan, K.; Ntie, S.; Smith, T. B.; Sullivan, J. P.; Verheyen, E.; Gonder, M. K. Evolution and conservation of Central African biodiversity: priorities for future research and education in the Congo Basin and Gulf of Guinea. Biotropica 2014, 47 (1), 6–17; DOI 10.1111/btp.12188.
2014
Lamperti, A. M.; French, A. R.; Dierenfeld, E. S.; Fogiel, M. K.; Whitney, K. D.; Stauffer, D. J.; Stouffer, K. M.; Hardesty, B. D.; Clark, C. J.; Poulsen, J. R.; Wang, B.; Smith, T. B.; Parker, V. T. Diet selection is related to breeding status in two frugivorous hornbill species of Central Africa. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2014, 30, 273–290; DOI 10.1017/S0266467414000236.
2013
Smith, T. B.; Harrigan, R. J.; Kirschel, A. N.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Blumstein, D. T.; de Kort, S. R.; Slabbekoorn, H. Predicting bird song from space. Evolutionary Applications 2013, 865–874; DOI 10.1111/eva.12072. PDF
2011
Njabo, K. Y.; Cornel, A. J.; Bonneaud, C.; Toffelmier, E.; Sehgal, R. N.; Valkiunas, G.; Russell, A. F.; Smith, T. B. Nonspecific patterns of vector, host and avian malaria parasite associations in a Central African rainforest. Molecular Ecology 2011, 20, 1049–1061. PDF
2011
Sehgal, R. N.; Buermann, W.; Harrigan, R. J.; Bonneaud, C.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Sepil, I.; Valkiunas, G.; Iezhova, T.; Saatchi, S.; Smith, T. B. Spatially explicit predictions of blood parasites in a widely distributed African rainforest bird. Procedings of the Royal Society B 2011, 278, 1025–1033; DOI 10.1098/rspb.2010.1720. PDF
2011
Freedman, A. H.; Thomassen, H. A.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B. Genomic signals of diversification along ecological gradients in a tropical lizard. Molecular Ecology 2011, 19, 3773–3788. PDF
2010
Freedman, A. H.; Buermann, W.; Mitchard, E. T.; DeFries, R. S.; Smith, T. B. Human impacts flatten rainforest-savanna gradient and reduce adaptive diversity in a rainforest bird. PLOS ONE 2010, 5; DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0013088. PDF
2009
Freedman, A. H.; Buermann, W.; LeBreton, M.; Chirio, L.; Smith, T. B. Modeling the effects of anthropogenic habitat change on savanna snake invasions into African rainforest. Conservation Biology 2009, 23. PDF
2009
Njabo, K. Y.; Cornel, A. J.; Sehgal, R. N.; Loiseau, C.; Buermann, W.; Harrigan, R. J.; Pollinger, J.; Valkiūnas, G.; Smith, T. B. Coquillettidia (Culicidae, Diptera) mosquitoes as new natural vectors of avian malaria in Africa. Malaria Journal 2009, 8; DOI 10.1186/1475-2875-8-193. PDF
2009
Chasar, A.; Loiseau, C.; Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. Prevalence and diversity patterns of avian blood parasites in degraded African rainforest habitats. Molecular Ecology 2009, 18, 4121–4133. PDF
2009
Bonneaud, C.; Sepil, I.; Milá, B.; Buermann, W.; Pollinger, J.; Sehgal, R. N.; Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T. A.; Saatchi, S.; Smith, T. B. The prevalence of avian Plasmodium is higher in undisturbed tropical forests of Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2009, 25, 439–447. PDF
2009
Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T. A.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. New malaria parasites of the subgenus Novyella in African rainforest birds, with remarks on their high prevalence, classification and diagnostics. Parasitology Research 2009, 104, 1061–1077. PDF
2009
Kirschel, A. N.; Blumstein, D. T.; Smith, T. B. Character displacement of song and morphology in African tinkerbirds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009, 106, 8256–8261. PDF
2009
Kirschel, A. N.; Blumstein, D. T.; Cohen, R. E.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B.; Slabbekoorn, H. Birdsong tuned to the environment: green hylia song varies with elevation, tree cover, and noise. Behavioral Ecology 2009, 29, 1089–1095.
2008
Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T. A.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. New species of haemosporidian parasites (Haemosporidia) from African rainforest birds, with remarks on their classification. Parasitology Research 2008, 103, 1213–1228. PDF
2008
Smith, T. B.; Grether, G. The importance of conserving evolutionary processes. In Conservation Biology: Evolution in Action; Carroll, S. P., Fox, C. W., Eds.; Oxford University Press: 2008; pp 85–98. PDF
2007
Wang, B. C.; Sork, V. L.; Leong, M. T.; Smith, T. B. Hunting of mammals reduced seed removal and dispersal of the Afrotropical tree, Antrocaryon klaineanum (Anacardiaceae). Biotropica 2007, 39, 340–347. PDF
2005
Jones, H. I.; Sehgal, R. N.; Smith, T. B. Leucocytozoon (Apicomplexa: Leucocytozoide) from West African birds, with descriptions of two species. Journal of Parasitology 2005, 29, 397–401. PDF
2005
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Molecular evidence for host specificity of parasitic nematode microfilariae in some African rainforest birds. Molecular Ecology 2005, 14, 3977–3988. PDF
2005
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Blood parasites of some West African rainforest birds. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 2005, 67, 295–301. PDF
2005
French, A.; Smith, T. B. Importance of body size in determining dominance hierarchies among diverse tropical frugivores. Biotropic 2005, 37, 95–100. PDF
2005
Clark, C. J.; Poulsen, J. R.; Connor, E. F.; Bolker, B.; Parker, V. T. Comparative seed shadows of bird-, monkey-, and wind-dispersed trees in a central African tropical rain forest. Ecology 2005, 86, 2684–2694; DOI 10.1890/04-1325.
2005
Smith, T. B.; Wayne, R. K.; Girman, D.; Bruford, M. W. Evaluating the divergence-with-gene-flow model in natural population: the importance of ecotones in rainforest speciation. In Tropical Rainforesets: Past, Present, and Future; Bermingham, E. ., Dick, C. ., Moritz, C. ., Eds.; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, Chicago, USA, 2005; pp 148–165. PDF
2004
Stauffer, D.; Smith, T. B. Breeding and nest site characteristics of the Black-casqued Ceratogymna atrata and White-thighed Ceratogymna cylindricus Hornbill in south-central Cameroon. Ostrich 2004, 75, 79–88. PDF
2004
Clark, C. J.; Poulsen, J. R.; Connor, E. F.; Parker, V. T. Fruiting trees as dispersal foci in a semi-deciduous tropical forest. Oecologia 2004, 139, 66–75; DOI 10.1007/s00442-003-1483-1.
2003
Hardesty, B. D.; Parker, V. T. Community seed rain patterns and a comparison to adult community structure in a West African tropical forest. Plant Ecology 2003, 164, 49–64; DOI 10.1023/A:1021251831806.
2002
Holbrook, K. M.; Smith, T. B.; Hardesty, B. D. Long-distance movements of frugivorous rainforest hornbills. Ecography 2002, 25, 745–749. PDF
2002
Poulsen, J. R.; Clark, C. J.; Conner, E. F.; Smith, T. B. Differential resource use by primates and hornbills: implications for seed dispersal. Ecology 2002, 83, 228–240. PDF
2002
Wang, B. C.; Smith, T. B. Closing the seed dispersal loop. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 2002, 17, 379–386. PDF
2002
Richard, F. A.; Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. A comparative analysis of PCR-based detection methods for avian malaria. Journal of Parasitology 2002, 88, 819–822. PDF
2002
Slabbekoorn, H.; Smith, T. B. Habitat-dependent song divergence in the little greenbul: an analysis of environmental selection pressures on acoustic signals. Evolution 2002, 56, 1849–1858. PDF
2001
Poulsen, J. R.; Clark, C. J.; Smith, T. B. Seed dispersal by a primate community in the Dja Reserve, Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2001, 17, 787–808. PDF
2001
Poulsen, J. R.; Clark, C. J.; Smith, T. B. Seasonal variation in the feeding ecology of the grey-cheeked mangabay (Lophecebus albigena) in Cameroon. American Journal of Primatology 2001, 54, 91–105. PDF
2001
Clark, C. J.; Poulsen, J. R.; Smith, T. B. The role of arboreal seed dispersal groups on the seed rain of a lowland tropical forest. Biotropica 2001, 33 (4), 606–620; DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2001.tb00219.x.
2001
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Host specificity and prevalence of Trypanosoma in the African avifauna: a molecular approach. Molecular Ecology 2001, 10, 2319–2327. PDF
2000
Holbrook, K. M.; Smith, T. B. Seed dispersal and movement patterns in two species of Ceratogymna hornbills in a West African tropical lowland forest. Oecologia 2000, 125, 249–257. PDF
1999
Schneider, C.; Smith, T. B.; Larison, B.; Moritz, C. A test of alternative models of diversification in tropical rainforest: ecological gradients vs. rainforest refugia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1999, 96, 13869–13873. PDF
1998
Whitney, K.; Fogiel, M.; Lamperti, A.; Holbrook, K.; Stauffer, D.; Hardesty, B.; Parker, V.; Smith, T. B. Seed dispersal by Ceratogymna hornbills in the Dja Reserve of Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 1998, 14, 351–371. PDF
1998
Whitney, K.; Smith, T. B. Habitat use and resource tracking by African Ceratogymna hornbills: implications for seed dispersal and forest conservation. American Conservation 1998, 1, 107–117. PDF
1997
Smith, T. B.; Wayne, R. K.; Girman, D.; Bruford, M. W. A role for ecotones in generating rainforest biodiversity. Science 1997, 276, 1855–1857. PDF

Theses

2009
Freedman, A. Adaptive diversification and anthropogenic impacts on African rainforest biodiversity. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2009.
2009
Chasar, A. Effects of deforestation on the prevalence and diversity of blood parasites in the two African rainforest birds. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2009.
2008
Wang, B. C. Impacts of hunting on seed dispersal in a Central African tropical orest. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, Angeles, CA, 2008.
2007
Fogiel, M. An evaluation of fruit availability theory and measurement in an afrotropical rainforest. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, Francisco, CA, 2007.
2004
Lamperti, A. M. Aspects of the seed dispersal ecology of Ceratogymna hornbills in Central Africa. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2004.
2004
Wang, B. C. Hornbills in a human-disturbed rainforest: seed dispersal, habitat suitability, and conservation. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2004.
2002
French, A. R. Aspects of foraging in a diverse tropical frugivore guild: behavioral and nutritional patterns. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2002.
2001
Clark, C. J. Frugivore influence on patterns of seed rain, seed shadows, and forest structure. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2001.
2000
Poulsen, J. R. Resource use, seed dispersal, and feeding ecology of primates in Cameroon. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2000.
1999
Holbrook, K. M. Seed dispersal movement patterns of Ceratogymna hornbills in Cameroon. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1999.
1999
Hardesty, B. D. Seed rain in a West African tropical forest. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1999.
1996
Whitney, K. D. Ecology of Ceratogymna hornbills: seed dispersal, habitat use, and resource training. M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1996.

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Center for Tropical Research | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300 | 619 Charles E. Young Dr. East | Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496

The Center for Tropical Research, located on the third floor of La Kretz Hall, is part of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. For general inquiries, contact Christa Gomez, CTR Office Manager, at (310) 206-6234, or by email at cgomez@lifesci.ucla.edu. Visitors are always welcome.

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