Community Ecology of
 Ngorongoro Crater




              Mike Lachance
     Population & Community Ecology
              ...
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater




Located in the Crater Highlands of Northern
Tanzania.
Ngorongoro Crater




Located in the Crater Highlands of Northern
Tanzania.

The world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera...
Crater Environment
Crater Environment




Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past.
Crater Environment




Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past.

Receives water from highland springs and
rainfall tha...
Crater Environment




Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past.

Receives water from highland springs and
rainfall tha...
Rainfall
Rainfall




Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons.
Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19”    Low: 14”   High: 40”
Rainfall




Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons.
Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19”    Low: 14”   High: 40”

Dry seaso...
Rainfall




Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons.
Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19”    Low: 14”   High: 40”

Dry seaso...
Animals within the Crater
Animals within the Crater




 Herbivores consist mostly of wildebeest, zebra,
 gazelle, and water buffalo. Rhinoceros,
 h...
Animals within the Crater




 Herbivores consist mostly of wildebeest, zebra,
 gazelle, and water buffalo. Rhinoceros,
 h...
Herbivores
Herbivores




Close to 25,000 herbivores with wildebeest
making up two-thirds of the herbivore
population.
Herbivores




Close to 25,000 herbivores with wildebeest
making up two-thirds of the herbivore
population.

Some herbivor...
Rainfall      Herbivores
1960
       Heavy rains
1961
       Flooding
1962
1963
1964
1965
                            2266...
Rainfall      Herbivores   Lions
                                            67
1960
       Heavy rains                   ...
Carnivores
Carnivores




Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted
hyenas.
Carnivores




Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted
hyenas.

Little to no emigration outside of the crater.
Carnivores




Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted
hyenas.

Little to no emigration outside of the crater.

Cr...
Hyena Clan Territory
Hyena Clan Territory
Parasites, Diseases, &
     Epidemics
Parasites, Diseases, &
     Epidemics
1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting
flies reducing lion population from 67...
Parasites, Diseases, &
     Epidemics
1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting
flies reducing lion population from 67...
Parasites, Diseases, &
     Epidemics
1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting
flies reducing lion population from 67...
Parasites, Diseases, &
     Epidemics
1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting
flies reducing lion population from 67...
Humans and the Crater
    Ecosystem
Humans and the Crater
    Ecosystem




Native Maasai pastoralists inhabited the area
until they were relocated for touris...
Humans and the Crater
    Ecosystem




Native Maasai pastoralists inhabited the area
until they were relocated for touris...
The removal of the Maasai and their farming
practiced caused a reduction in the wildebeest
populations and an increase in ...
The removal of the Maasai and their farming
practiced caused a reduction in the wildebeest
populations and an increase in ...
Limitations on Animal
     Populations
Limitations on Animal
         Populations
Carnivores limited in
population size based on
territory and density-
dependent...
Limitations on Animal
         Populations
Carnivores limited in
population size based on
territory and density-
dependent...
Predators benefit
from droughts in
that it leaves more
herbivores in weak
conditions.
Predators benefit
                             from droughts in
                             that it leaves more
          ...
Predators benefit
                             from droughts in
                             that it leaves more
          ...
Most herbivore populations are not likely to reach
carrying capacity because of seasonal migrations and
plentiful vegetati...
Most herbivore populations are not likely to reach
carrying capacity because of seasonal migrations and
plentiful vegetati...
Review
Review
Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal
populations.
Review
Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal
populations.

Migration accounts for some differ...
Review
Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal
populations.

Migration accounts for some differ...
Review
Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal
populations.

Migration accounts for some differ...
Review
Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal
populations.

Migration accounts for some differ...
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
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Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

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Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

  1. 1. Community Ecology of Ngorongoro Crater Mike Lachance Population & Community Ecology Spring 2009
  2. 2. Ngorongoro Crater
  3. 3. Ngorongoro Crater Located in the Crater Highlands of Northern Tanzania.
  4. 4. Ngorongoro Crater Located in the Crater Highlands of Northern Tanzania. The world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera containing the largest density of wild animals in Africa.
  5. 5. Crater Environment
  6. 6. Crater Environment Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past.
  7. 7. Crater Environment Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past. Receives water from highland springs and rainfall that collects on the crater rim.
  8. 8. Crater Environment Nutrient rich soils from it’s volcanic past. Receives water from highland springs and rainfall that collects on the crater rim. Large savannah marked by grassland,woodland, swamps, and a salt lake.
  9. 9. Rainfall
  10. 10. Rainfall Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons. Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19” Low: 14” High: 40”
  11. 11. Rainfall Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons. Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19” Low: 14” High: 40” Dry season: June-October
  12. 12. Rainfall Marked by distinct wet and dry seasons. Average yearly rainfall of 16”-19” Low: 14” High: 40” Dry season: June-October Wet season: November-May
  13. 13. Animals within the Crater
  14. 14. Animals within the Crater Herbivores consist mostly of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and water buffalo. Rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephant are present in smaller numbers.
  15. 15. Animals within the Crater Herbivores consist mostly of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and water buffalo. Rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephant are present in smaller numbers. Carnivores consist of lions and spotted hyena.
  16. 16. Herbivores
  17. 17. Herbivores Close to 25,000 herbivores with wildebeest making up two-thirds of the herbivore population.
  18. 18. Herbivores Close to 25,000 herbivores with wildebeest making up two-thirds of the herbivore population. Some herbivores migrate out seasonally to the Serengeti.
  19. 19. Rainfall Herbivores 1960 Heavy rains 1961 Flooding 1962 1963 1964 1965 22666 1966 Subnormal 1967 1968 1969 23260 1970 26245 1971 23235 1972 22598 1973 26090 1974 Subnormal 28543 1975 22626 1976 21347 1977 18883 1978 Herbivore Population Fluctuations 1979 1980 30000 1981 1982 22500 1983 1984 1985 15000 23127 1986 22782 1987 18122 1988 7500 14741 1989 21366 1990 0 18116 1991 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 23024 1992 Herbivores Drought 14197 1993 25650 1994 15217 1995 Minor correlation between rainfall and herbivore 10457 1996 El Nino rains 14287 1997 populations due to high water retention within El Nino rains 17118 1998 23051 1999 Drought 19265 2000 crater, seasonal migration, & opportunistic 17440 2001 15373 2002 browsing between seasons. 15088 2003
  20. 20. Rainfall Herbivores Lions 67 1960 Heavy rains 67 1961 Flooding 13 1962 1963 1964 15 1965 22666 1966 Subnormal 1967 1968 1969 23260 57 1970 26245 1971 23235 1972 22598 1973 26090 1974 Herbivore Population Fluctuations Subnormal 28543 100 1975 30000 22626 1976 21347 1977 18883 1978 22500 1979 86 1980 15000 1981 105 1982 124 1983 7500 1984 77 1985 0 23127 1986 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 22782 1987 Herbivores 18122 1988 14741 1989 Lion Population Fluctuations 21366 81 1990 18116 1991 150.0 23024 1992 Drought 14197 60 1993 40 112.5 25650 1994 15217 1995 10457 25 1996 75.0 El Nino rains 14287 30 1997 El Nino rains 17118 29 1998 37.5 23051 50 1999 Drought 19265 50 2000 17440 2001 0 15373 2002 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 Lions 15088 30 2003
  21. 21. Carnivores
  22. 22. Carnivores Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted hyenas.
  23. 23. Carnivores Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted hyenas. Little to no emigration outside of the crater.
  24. 24. Carnivores Consist of prides of lions and clans of spotted hyenas. Little to no emigration outside of the crater. Crater floor divided up by 7 lion prides and 8 hyena clans.
  25. 25. Hyena Clan Territory
  26. 26. Hyena Clan Territory
  27. 27. Parasites, Diseases, & Epidemics
  28. 28. Parasites, Diseases, & Epidemics 1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting flies reducing lion population from 67 to 13 individuals.
  29. 29. Parasites, Diseases, & Epidemics 1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting flies reducing lion population from 67 to 13 individuals. Lions developed skin infections that prevented them from hunting prey.
  30. 30. Parasites, Diseases, & Epidemics 1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting flies reducing lion population from 67 to 13 individuals. Lions developed skin infections that prevented them from hunting prey. 2001-2002: Heavy rains led to another biting fly outbreak and a tick outbreak. An outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus also followed.
  31. 31. Parasites, Diseases, & Epidemics 1962: Heavy rains led to an outbreak of biting flies reducing lion population from 67 to 13 individuals. Lions developed skin infections that prevented them from hunting prey. 2001-2002: Heavy rains led to another biting fly outbreak and a tick outbreak. An outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus also followed. Both herbivores and carnivores died as a result of the outbreaks.
  32. 32. Humans and the Crater Ecosystem
  33. 33. Humans and the Crater Ecosystem Native Maasai pastoralists inhabited the area until they were relocated for tourism in 1974.
  34. 34. Humans and the Crater Ecosystem Native Maasai pastoralists inhabited the area until they were relocated for tourism in 1974. Practiced burning of tall grasses in the crater for their livestock.
  35. 35. The removal of the Maasai and their farming practiced caused a reduction in the wildebeest populations and an increase in the water buffalo populations.
  36. 36. The removal of the Maasai and their farming practiced caused a reduction in the wildebeest populations and an increase in the water buffalo populations. Areas that were formally burned by the pastoralists were found to have large densities of ticks after the relocation and heavy rains.
  37. 37. Limitations on Animal Populations
  38. 38. Limitations on Animal Populations Carnivores limited in population size based on territory and density- dependent reproductive rates.
  39. 39. Limitations on Animal Populations Carnivores limited in population size based on territory and density- dependent reproductive rates. High density of herbivores provides enough food, however lions show higher food intake and reproductive output under smaller population conditions.
  40. 40. Predators benefit from droughts in that it leaves more herbivores in weak conditions.
  41. 41. Predators benefit from droughts in that it leaves more herbivores in weak conditions. Lions believed to have reached carrying capacity in 1983 at 124 individuals.
  42. 42. Predators benefit from droughts in that it leaves more herbivores in weak conditions. Lions believed to have reached carrying capacity in 1983 at 124 individuals. Lions consumed less food and had lower reproductive rates at this high density compared to previous lower densities.
  43. 43. Most herbivore populations are not likely to reach carrying capacity because of seasonal migrations and plentiful vegetation.
  44. 44. Most herbivore populations are not likely to reach carrying capacity because of seasonal migrations and plentiful vegetation. Water buffalo proved to be most vulnerable to drought. Large declines after drought indicate that the water buffalo were close to carrying capacity.
  45. 45. Review
  46. 46. Review Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal populations.
  47. 47. Review Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal populations. Migration accounts for some differences in herbivore populations and prevents vegetation from being decimated from browsing.
  48. 48. Review Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal populations. Migration accounts for some differences in herbivore populations and prevents vegetation from being decimated from browsing. Carnivore populations are regulated through territory sizes, densities of weak or sick prey, and the conditions of neighboring predators.
  49. 49. Review Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal populations. Migration accounts for some differences in herbivore populations and prevents vegetation from being decimated from browsing. Carnivore populations are regulated through territory sizes, densities of weak or sick prey, and the conditions of neighboring predators. Large population changes are a result of major droughts, parasite and disease outbreaks, and changes in the composition of vegetation.
  50. 50. Review Seasonal rainfall variations causes little to no changes in animal populations. Migration accounts for some differences in herbivore populations and prevents vegetation from being decimated from browsing. Carnivore populations are regulated through territory sizes, densities of weak or sick prey, and the conditions of neighboring predators. Large population changes are a result of major droughts, parasite and disease outbreaks, and changes in the composition of vegetation. The crater provides an ecosystem that is plentiful in resources compared to areas such as the Serengeti where populations are consistently struggling to survive.

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