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Gabon

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design of three different jagged shapes turned in various directions on a background of diagonal lines and shapes.

Fang Axe, Gabon

National Museum of American History
Fang Axes are a bundled group of small iron rods with arrow-shaped ends. They were used by the Fang people of Gabon for trade as well as for ceremonial payments in marriages (bridewealth).

Bundle of Spears, Gabon

National Museum of American History
Various West African communities produced metal currency in the shapes of spears and other weapons for specific kinds of exchange, such as ceremonial payments for marriages (bridewealth). They were made from a range of metals including iron, copper, brass, and bronze. While they were typically not designed for use, they could be melted down and transformed into weapons, tools, or ornaments.

Gabon? Weapon Collection n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint on cardboard mount

3.60fr Gabon Forest single

National Postal Museum

10c Gabon Viper single

National Postal Museum

Gabon Preserves Land for Parks

Smithsonian Libraries

Mask, Wood:Face:Fiber:from Gabon (Ogowe River Area) n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint

DNA untangles Gabon’s complex web of frog species

Smithsonian Insider

When Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute conservation biologist Jessica Deichmann joined a project to determine how the construction of a road in Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park […]

The post DNA untangles Gabon’s complex web of frog species appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

How Ecotourism Can Save Both Gabon’s Forests and its Gorillas

Smithsonian Channel
In Gabon, a local group of conservationists are sowing the seeds of ecotourism. Their goal is to finance the protection of not just the local gorillas, but also the rain forest itself. From the Show: Gorillas of Gabon http://bit.ly/2nBGFuo

A new species of African Forest Robin from Gabon (Passeriformes: Muscicapidae: Stiphrornis)

Smithsonian Libraries
We describe a new species of forest robin from the Gamba Complex in southwest Gabon. This common bird, Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus sp. nov., inhabits primary lowland forest and forages on or near the ground like the other members of the genus Stiphrornis of central and western Africa. Unique phenotypic features of the new species include the male’s bright orange chin, throat, and breast, creamy yellow belly, olive green back and rump, and gray flanks. Mitochondrial sequence divergence corroborates our assessment based on its distinct physical characteristics that this is a new species, and suggest that Stiphrornis erythrothorax is likely the most closely related congener.

Faunal turnover of arthropod assemblages along a wide gradient of disturbance in Gabon

Smithsonian Libraries
We examined the results of a study in Gamba, Gabon, focusing on the impacts of disturbance on arthropods, including more than 400 000 individuals, from which 21 focal taxa were separated into 1534 morphospecies by parataxonomists. Replication included the understorey of three sites in each of four different stages of forest succession and land use (= ‘habitats’) after logging (old and young forests, savanna and gardens), surveyed over a whole year with three sampling methods. Generally, there was a good correspondence between the number of species sorted by taxonomists and the number of morphospecies sorted by parataxonomists. Despite higher taxonomic groups being present in most habitats, a large proportion of insect species was site- or habitat-specific. Anthropogenic modification of habitats did not result in a monotonic decline of abundance and diversity, as many herbivore pests and their associated predators and parasitoids invaded gardens, where plant productivity was kept artificially high year-round through watering and crop rotation. Because gardens were colonized mostly by invasive crop pests with little relation with the forest fauna, these results emphasize the concept of maintenance of ‘quality biodiversity’ and the value of considering other variables than species richness alone in conservation studies. Further, several lines of evidence indicated that savanna habitats at Gamba supported a species-poor arthropod fauna distinct from that in nearby habitats. It is therefore questionable whether in Africa insect assemblages of savanna represent a smaller subset of their neighboring forest fauna.

Changes in arthropod assemblages along a wide gradient of disturbance in Gabon

Smithsonian Libraries
Searching for indicator taxa representative of diverse assemblages, such as arthropods, is an important objective of many conservation studies. We evaluated the impacts of a wide gradient of disturbance in Gabon on a range of arthropod assemblages representing different feeding guilds. We examined 4 × 105 arthropod individuals fromwhich 21 focal taxawere separated into 1534 morphospecies. Replication included the understory of 3 sites in each of 4 different stages of forest succession and land use (i.e., habitats) after logging (old and young forests, savanna, and gardens).We used 3 complementary sampling methods to survey sites throughout the year. Overall differences in arthropod abundance and diversity were greatest between forest and open habitats, and cleared forest invaded by savanna had the lowest abundance and diversity. The magnitude of faunal differences was much smaller between old and young forests. When considered at this local scale, anthropogenic modification of habitats did not result in a monotonous decline of diversity because many herbivore pests and their associated predators and parasitoids were abundant and diverse in gardens, where plant productivity was kept artificially high year-round through watering and crop rotation. We used a variety of response variables to measure the strength of correlations across survey locations among focal taxa. These could be ranked as follows in terms of decreasing number of significant correlations: species turnover > abundance > observed species richness > estimated species richness > percentage of site-specific species. The number of significant correlations was generally low and apparently unrelated to taxonomy or guild structure. Our results emphasize the value of reporting species turnover in conservation studies, as opposed to simply measuring species richness, and that the search for indicator taxa is elusive in the tropics. One promising alternative might be to consider “predictor sets” of a small number of taxa representative different functional groups, as identified in our study.

Choice of metrics for studying arthropod responses to habitat disturbance: one example from Gabon

Smithsonian Libraries
1. The choice of metrics comparing pristine and disturbed habitats may not be straightforward. We examined the results of a study in Gabon including 21 arthropod focal taxa representing 16 855 individuals separated into 1534 morphospecies. Replication included the understorey of 12 sites representing four stages of land use after logging (old and young forests, savanna and gardens), surveyed for 1 year using three sampling methods. 2. For all focal taxa, we calculated a suite of 13 metrics accounting for the intensity of faunal changes between habitats, namely: abundance; observed, rarefied and estimated species richness; proportion of rare species; additive diversity partitioning; evenness of assemblages; higher taxonomic composition; species turnover; ordination scores of multivariate analyses; nestedness; proportion of site-specific species and ratios of functional guilds. 3. Most metrics showed large differences between forests and non-forest habitats, but were not equally discriminating for particular taxa. Despite higher taxonomic groups being present in most habitats, many insect species were site or habitat specific. There was little evidence that the disturbance gradient represented a series of impoverished habitats derived from older forests. Rather, entire suites of species were being replaced as habitats were modified. 4. Metrics based on species identity had a high sensitivity to disturbance, whereas measurements describing community structure were less discriminating in this regard. We recommend using metrics based on abundance, estimated species richness, species turnover estimated by multivariate analyses and guild structure, to avoid misleading interpretations that may result from comparisons of species richness alone.

Influence of artificial lights, logs and erosion on leatherback sea turtle hatchling orientation at Pongara National Park, Gabon

Smithsonian Libraries
The coast of Gabon is one of the most important nesting sites for the endangered leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea. In this study, hatchling orientation was recorded during natural emergences at Pongara National Park, Gabon. This nesting beach is located close to both the capital of Gabon and a developing resort area, Pointe Denis. Under natural conditions most sea turtle hatchlings emerge at night and orient to the ocean by crawling away from dark, high silhouettes landward towards the bright, low seaward horizons. Artificial lights interfere with natural cues and disrupt hatchling orientation. The relative influence of artificial lights, logs and erosion were assessed on the nesting beach in Pongara National Park using a linear mixed model. We found that the attraction to artificial lights was higher than the effect of silhouette cues landward alone, but could be balanced by the simultaneous presence of the moon. Based upon these results, we recommend combining light management in the resort area to reduce the light pollution on the nesting beach and reinforcement of natural cues landward to minimize the effect of the remaining light pollution from the capital.

New quill mites (Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae) parasitizing the black-headed paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer (Passeriformes: Monarchidae) in Gabon

Smithsonian Libraries
A new genus of quill mites (Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae) and two new species Pipicobia terpsiphoni gen. nov. and sp. nov. and Syringophiloidus furthi sp. nov. parasitizing the black-headed paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer (Swainson) (Passeriformes: Monarchidae) in Gabon are described. Three species of the Neopicobia Skoracki, 2011 are moved to the newly established genus: Pipicobia locustella (Skoracki, Bochkov and Wauthy, 2004) comb. nov., Pipicobia pyrrholaemus (Skoracki and Glowska, 2008) comb.nov., and Pipicobia glossopsitta (Skoracki, Glowska and Sikora, 2008) comb.nov. Syringophilids are recorded on hosts of the family Monarchidae and in Gabon for the first time. A key to the genera of the subfamily Picobiinae is proposed.
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