Population cycles in voles and lemmings: state of the science and future directions

@article{Oli2019PopulationCI,
  title={Population cycles in voles and lemmings: state of the science and future directions},
  author={Madan K. Oli},
  journal={Mammal Review},
  year={2019}
}
  • M. Oli
  • Published 1 July 2019
  • Environmental Science
  • Mammal Review
Although periodic outbreaks in rodent numbers have been observed throughout recorded history, Elton (1924) was the first to scrutinise the phenomenon of multiannual population fluctuations scientifically. In this exceptionally insightful paper, Elton (1924) not only synthesised information on cyclic fluctuations in abundance of many animal species, but also extensively explored causes and consequences of population cycles with a particular focus on lemmings and voles. He suggested that the… 

Population cycles and outbreaks of small rodents: ten essential questions we still need to solve

TLDR
This overview focuses on the most important issues that are essential for understanding the generality of small rodent population dynamics and highlights ten questions directly related to the various characteristics of relevant populations and ecosystems that still need to be answered.

Demography of snowshoe hare population cycles.

TLDR
Demographic mechanisms underlying snowshoe hare population cycles were consistent across cycles but it is shown that differences in peak density across cycles is explained by differences in overall population growth rate, amount of time available for population growth to occur, and starting population density.

Shrinkage of body size in rodents as a strategy of populations under anthropogenic conditions (results of 50 years of study of rodent populations)

Based on results of 50 years of continuous observations of populations of the pine vole (Microtus subterraneus de Selys-Longchamps, 1836) and yellow-necked wood mouse (Sylvaemus flavicollis Melchior,

Contribution of late-litter juveniles to the population dynamics of snowshoe hares.

TLDR
It is found that fourth-litter juveniles occur consistently during the increase phase of each cycle, but are rare and have low over-winter survival suggesting that population increase is unlikely to be caused by their occurrence.

Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance, long-term community change and prey switches

TLDR
The results show how the predator community responds to prey variations of large amplitude and how it reorganized with the increase in a dominant predator, here the red fox, and indicate which subset of predator species might have a role in vole population control in the critical phase of a low density of grassland voles.

Role of individual dispersal in genetic resilience in fluctuating populations of the gray‐sided vole Myodes rufocanus

TLDR
It is suggested that, in gray‐sided vole populations, genetic diversity varies with density largely at the local scale; in contrast, genetic variation in a metapopulation is well‐preserved at the regional scale due to the density‐dependent dispersal behaviors of individuals.

Large-Scale Vole Population Synchrony in Central Europe Revealed by Kestrel Breeding Performance

Rodents are classical model species to investigate spatial synchrony in population fluctuation. Yet, previous studies have been strongly biased geographically toward high latitude (boreal ecosystem)

Population dynamics of an island population of water voles Arvicola amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758) with one major predator, the eagle owl Bubo bubo (Linnaeus, 1758), in northern Norway

Predator–prey relationships are of great significance to ecosystems, and their effects on the population dynamics of voles and lemmings (Microtinae) in Boreal and Arctic environments have long been

Impacts of Climate Warming on Terrestrial Species in the Middle Yenisei Taiga

Abstract This paper examines the relationship between climate warming and processes occurring in communities and populations of terrestrial small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. The

The hidden effect of inadvertent social information use on fluctuating predator–prey dynamics

  • Z. Tóth
  • Environmental Science
    Evolutionary Ecology
  • 2020
Understanding biotic interactions and abiotic forces that govern population regulation is crucial for predicting stability from both theoretical and applied perspectives. In recent years, social

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 142 REFERENCES

Population Cycles Revisited

TLDR
Progress in analyzing cyclic fluctuations has been made most rapidly when people define clear alternative hypotheses and carry out experimental manipulations on field populations, and much remains to be done on these small mammals.

Vole cycles and predation in temperate and boreal zones of Europe

TLDR
A new version of the predation hypothesis is proposed to explain low-amplitude population cycles of voles in temperate Europe, including the Kielder Forest, because generalists can have a functional response that is destabilizing in the neighbourhood of the equilibrium point.

Linking climate change to lemming cycles

TLDR
It is shown that winter weather and snow conditions, together with density dependence in the net population growth rate, account for the observed population dynamics of the rodent community dominated by lemmings in an alpine Norwegian core habitat between 1970 and 1997, and predict the observed absence of rodent peak years after 1994.

Population Cycles in Small Mammals

Europe-Wide Dampening of Population Cycles in Keystone Herbivores

TLDR
Using a large compilation of time series of vole abundances, it is demonstrated consistent cycle amplitude dampening associated with a reduction in winter population growth, although regulatory processes responsible for cyclicity have not been lost.

Experimental tests of predation and food hypotheses for population cycles of voles

TLDR
It is concluded that predation inhibits an increase in vole populations until predation pressure declines, thus maintaining the low phase of the cycle, but also that population cycles in voles are not primarily driven by plant–herbivore interactions.

Dynamics of Small Mammal Populations: A Review

TLDR
A review of the literature on small mammals suggests that average population levels are largely determined by a balance of the positive effects of resources and the negative effects of enemies and that the strengths of these effects vary from habitat to habitat.

Dynamic effects of predators on cyclic voles: field experimentation and model extrapolation

TLDR
It is concluded that predators may indeed generate the cyclic population fluctuations of voles observed in northern Europe and this supports the findings of the field experiment and is in agreement with the predation hypothesis.

SMALL‐RODENT DYNAMICS AND PREDATION

TLDR
The predation hypothesis is reviewed and it is considered it unlikely that the phenotypic and genotypic composition of pop- ulations would be instrumental for generating the broad patterns in rodent oscillations, which may have some population-dynamic consequences.
...