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:2/1/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, ... Heart Association (AHA) announced plans to develop a first ... cognitive computing power of IBM Watson. In the first ... disease, AHA, IBM (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok ... metrics and health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: ... at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, New York ... (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter the United ... belong to them. pilot testing of the system ... at three terminals at JFK during January 2016. --> ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... 21, 2016 --> ... market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology ... (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), Services, Application ... to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global Emotion ... USD 22.65 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... FLINT, Mich. , Feb. 8, 2016  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced today that ... as a specialty pharmacy resource–user-centric, story-driven, knowledge-based and mobile-friendly. ... ... ... "The ...
(Date:2/5/2016)...  In the pharmaceutical industry the medical affairs function ... activities including the identification and engagement of key thought ... high in the oncology therapeutic area where most treating ... Role of Medical Affairs in Oncology Launch Excellence ." ... find better ways to utilize medical affairs to develop ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- - New FDA action date of July ... date of July 22, 2016   --> ... 2016   - Lifitegrast has the potential ... the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in ... be the only product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... N.J. , Feb. 4, 2016  CytoSorbents ... immunotherapy leader commercializing its flagship CytoSorb® blood filter ... surgery patients around the world, announced that CEO ... present at the Source Capital Group,s 2016 Disruptive ... update on the company.  Conference ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: