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Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the dynamics of local small-mammal populations

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We studied dynamics of local small-mammal assemblages consisting of shrews, voles, and mice by small-scale snap trapping in each spring and autumn from 1981 to 2006 in southern Finland. Our aim was to search for relative roles of possible regulatory associations within and between species, as well as to find reflections of the effects of large-scale climatic phenomena on local populations. Preceding intraspecific densities had a dominating role in seasonal changes in small-mammal numbers. Their relationships with weather-related factors indicated by the indices of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) were most pronounced during winter. Relationships with the NAO indices, increasing values of which indicate milder weather in the north, were negative in voles but positive in shrews and mice. Spring densities were governed by the largely compensatory effects of the growth rate of the preceding summer and subsequent population decline during winter in the field vole (Microtus agrestis (L., 1761)) and mice, while the effects of winter decline dominated in shrews. The bank vole (Myodes glareolus (Schreber, 1780) = Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780)) showed decreasing winter decline, which had a considerable positive effect on population densities.

Nous avons étudié la dynamique de peuplements de petits mammifères locaux composés de musaraignes, de campagnols et de souris par trappage à petite échelle avec des tapettes à souris à chaque printemps et automne de 1981 à 2006 dans le sud de la Finlande. Notre but était de rechercher les rôles relatifs de possibles associations régulatrices au sein des espèces et entre elles, ainsi que de trouver des signes des effets des phénomènes climatiques à grande échelle sur les populations locales. Les densités intraspécifiques antérieures ont un rôle dominant dans les changements saisonniers des nombres de petits mammifères. Leurs relations avec les facteurs associés au climat représentés par les indices de l’oscillation nord atlantique (NAO) sont plus prononcées en hiver. Les relations avec les indices NAO, dont les valeurs croissantes indiquent un climat plus doux dans le nord, sont négatives chez les campagnols, mais positives chez les musaraignes et les souris. Les densités au printemps sont contrôlées par les effets largement compensatoires du taux de croissance de l’été précédent et du déclin subséquent de la population durant l’hiver chez le campagnol agreste (Microtus agrestis (L., 1761)) et les souris, alors que chez les musaraignes, les effets du déclin hivernal prédominent. Le campagnol roussâtre (Myodes glareolus (Schreber, 1780) = Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780)) connaît une diminution de son déclin hivernal, ce qui a un effet positif considérable sur les densités de la population.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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