The importance of chemical communication studies to mammalian conservation biology: A review
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCampbell-Palmer, R. & Rosell, F. The importance of chemical communication studies to mammalian conservation biology: A review. Biological Conservation 2011, 144(7), p. 1919-1930
The relevance of chemical communication to mammalian conservation is not often the focus of scientific investigation. Our review identifies and discusses ten key areas in which the study of chemical communication aids conservation behaviour. Articles (n = 140) were revealed, most were concerned with population monitoring (22.50%), reducing human-wildlife conflicts (18.93), influencing habitat selection 2 (18.57%), increasing welfare of captive animals (12.86%), encouraging captive breeding (12.86%), reducing predation (5.71%), and increasing the success of release programmes (5.00%). Few articles (<4%) were found relating olfactory studies to health status of wild populations, reducing hybridization or as indication of pollution. A growing number of articles are addressing how olfactory studies may aid conservation, but more rigorous experimental testing and manipulations are required. The vast majority of studies linking olfaction with conservation involved the population monitoring of wild carnivores. We suggest that animal behavioural studies and manipulations of chemical communication can have significant impacts on conservation in these areas, which should be further developed to generate practical applications. Areas of future study include chemical communication of aquatic mammalian species, the transfer of olfactory cues under water, and the identification of genetic markers that may link ??ersonality??with olfactory responses. Linking olfactory studies to fitness, either on an individual or population scale, particularly in a wider ecological context is more likely to increase conservation value. Animal translocations and reintroduction programmes may offer a means to do this and could be an important area to direct future studies.