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ITFC Theses

An impressive number of MSc and PhD student projects has been carried out and supervised from ITFC since 1988. Many of the graduates have gone on to occupy important positions in conservation and education throughout the country. Find here a chronological overview;  hard copies of (most ) these are available in ITFC's library.
The Chemical Ecology of Mountain Gorillas, with Special Reference to Antimicrobial Constituents in the Diet - 1998

Mountain gorillas are strict herbivores and their diverse diet is apparently determined to a great extent by nutritional and non-nutritional chemistry. This PhD examined the phytochemical aspects of the diet of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable and Magahinga National Parks in Uganda, with a view to establish the role of the chemical constituents of plants in their feeding ecology. It proposes a role for antimicrobial constituents of the food plants of gorillas in the perpetuation of stable enteric microflora, helping to maintain health.

The Availability and Distribution of Fruit and Non-Fruit Plant Resources in Bwindi - 2003

Gorillas are the largest extant apes, whose 2 species and 4 subspecies are all highly endangered. Relatively little is know about the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), which are thought to be distinct from the Virunga populations. This study, focussing on the Kyagurilo research group, sought to investigate the diet and food resources of Bwindi’s gorillas, to better understand the relationship between gorillas and their habitat. Specifically, it aimed to document their diet, determine spatial and temporal availability of plant resources within their home range, measure and map home range size, measure daily journey length and analyse how spatial and temporal variation in diet influenced gorilla ranging patterns, habitat use and food choice, then compare these with other gorilla populations at different ecological sites.

Small Mammal Communities Along an Elevational Gradient in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, S.W Uganda - 1998

Zonation on mountains, whereby species of animals and plants are replaced by different species with changes in altitude, is a well-known ecological phenomenon.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is rich in endemic species of rodents and both its location and unique elevation range make it critical in interpreting the distribution of endemic species of rodents and shrews. At time of writing there was little information available on the small mammal communities of BINP, so this study intended to document species distribution of small mammals (rodents and shrews) as influenced by altitude and vegetation zones as well as their degree of endemism in BINP and adjacent areas.

Plants from the Park - 2001

After a long history of protectionist, ‘fortress’ conservation, it is now accepted that if conservation is to succeed, communities surrounding national parks in developing countries should benefit from conservation. This thesis documents research into, and the establishment of, pilot schemes for local community use of plant resources from within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in Uganda as a method for enhanced conservation, and preliminary planning at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP), at a time when community involvement was a new idea.

Plant-Herbivore Dynamics in the Birungas - 1991

This thesis investigated plant-herbivore dynamics in the Birunga volcanoes region in Central Africa, one of the few strongholds of mountain gorillas. This whole ecosystem study concentrated on the impact of the five largest mammalian herbivores; mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei), black-fronted duiker (Caphalophus nigrifrons), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and African elephant (Loxondonta africana) on vegetation and the effects this had on mountain gorilla populations in the reserve.