HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
It's feast or famine: Predators may drive lemming cycles, Science researchers say

This news release is also available in French.

New findings suggest that a special combination of predators can drive lemming populations through a four-year boom and bust cycle, which has been one of ecology's big mysteries for over half a century.

While it's a myth that lemmings hurl themselves en masse over cliffs, the reality has been nearly as bewildering for Scandinavians and others at northern high latitudes who periodically find the land awash in these small rodents. Depending on the species, populations of lemmings and their vole cousins can explode by 100 or even 1,000 times their original size and then crash on a regular basis.

The collared lemming, which lives in the high-arctic tundra, is the single prey in one of the world's simplest vertebrate predator-prey relationships. The stoat, arctic fox, snowy owl, and a seabird called the long-tailed skua all dine on this hamster-like animal.

Scientists now suggest that these four predators may be solely responsible for the four-year population cycle in eastern Greenland and possibly in many other collared lemming populations. In contrast to previous hypotheses, food or space shortages didn't appear to be involved, the researchers report in their study, which appears in the 31 October issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the non-profit science society

"This question of lemming cycles has been open for almost a century. Different schools have argued about this. It has been a very, very hot issue," said study author Olivier Gilg of the University of Helsinki in Finland and Center for Biology and Management of Populations (CBGP), in Montferrier, France.

The field of small mammal ecology was born in 1924, when the eminent British ecologist Charles Elton published one of his seminal papers on rodent population cycles. Researchers have been studying these cycles ever since
'"/>

Contact: Christina Smith
ccsmith@aaas.org
202-326-7088
American Association for the Advancement of Science
30-Oct-2003


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Subtract a gene and feasting mice add no fat
2. A feast of lobsters
3. Study: King Midas feast offered golden opportunity for fungi
4. Predators and human health
5. Predators: an overlooked player in plant-pollinator relationships
6. Predators drive evolution of virtual prey appearance
7. Research Shows How Shrimps Escape Predators
8. Broken arms and collateral damage: clues to predator-driven evolution
9. Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases
10. Espionage may have driven the evolution of bee language according to UCSD-led study in Brazil
11. Changes to insect-seeking calls of horseshoe bats may drive new species formation

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2017)... ALBANY, New York , April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... highly competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by ... in the market is however held by five major ... and Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% ... majority of the leading companies in the global military ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... Firmex FileSend, a cloud-based file transfer solution that makes it easy for organizations ... without having to worry about cumbersome FTP software or email file size limitations. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... NetDimensions has been ranked ... Research Globe™ for Corporate Learning, 2017. , Aragon Research defines Leaders as organizations ... effectively perform against those strategies. NetDimensions’ ranking as a Leader due to its ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Kathy Goin is ... Clinical Operations. She brings years of expertise in establishing and leading clinical operations ... as a licensed occupational therapist, through a variety of leadership roles in Clinical ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Stratevi, a boutique firm that partners ... Coast. It has opened an office in downtown Boston at 745 Atlantic Ave. ... more important to generate evidence on the value they provide, not just to patients, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: