Monday, August 2, 2010 - 2:30 PM

COS 5-4: The impact of burning on lion (Panthera leo) habitat choice in an African savanna

Stephanie L. Eby and Mark E. Ritchie. Syracuse University


Carnivores play a central role in ecosystem processes by exerting top-down control, while fire plays a role by exerting bottom-up control. Yet, little is known about how fire impacts carnivore distributions in a post-fire landscape. This study is one of the few to investigate this effect. We looked at the distributions of lions (Panthera leo) in relation to burned areas in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.


We found that not only do lions avoid burned areas, but they also kill less in burned areas. This has implications not only for lion hunting success, and therefore fitness, but also for the prey species on which they feed.