Home Institution

Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management


My research during the independent study period focuses on the relationship between activity time budgets of adult female red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) and infant survival. I conducted my research under the guidance of Centre ValBio in Ranomafana National Park. Red-bellied lemurs have a clear three month birth peak from Aug-Oct, but up to 30% of infants in a single year can be born outside of this birth peak, however, survival for out-of-season infants is strikingly low compared to in-season infants, 100% (n=4) of out-of-season infants died in one study conducted in 2009, whereas only 11% (n=18) of in-season infants died within their first year. I collected data on adult female activity time budgets as a way to compare adult females with out-of-season infants and those without, to see if mother ATBs may be a factor in infant survival. I found that all female ATBs are strikingly similar, with only small adjustments, such as increased feeding and decreased moving in the adult female with an out-of-season infant. Infants born outside of the birth season may be at a disadvantage because the mother's activity time budget cannot sufficiently adjust to ensure adequate energy to support the stresses, like lactation, of rearing an infant. I suggest that this preliminary research be used to design a longer term study, to assess different factors affecting relaxed birth seasonality and infant survival in red-bellied lemurs.


Animal Sciences