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:
(Date:10/30/2014)... developed a suite of technologies that can be used ... applications in everything from search and rescue to service ... platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that ... behavioral signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues ... of computer science at NC State and co-lead author ...
(Date:10/29/2014)... In the largest study of its kind to date, ... genes that heighten the risk for autism. Joseph Buxbaum, ... York City, Mark Daly, Ph.D., Broad Institute of Harvard ... DNA samples from affected children, parents and unrelated people. ... to contribute to the risk for autism spectrum disorder ...
(Date:10/29/2014)... number of chemicals from household and industrial products are ... bodies. But for most of them, scientists have yet ... taken the first step toward doing that by estimating ... new method is published in the ACS journal ... and colleagues note that the risks to human health ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):New tech aims to improve communication between dogs and humans 2
(Date:10/27/2014)... October 27, 2014 The ... produce, exhibit and sell its artificial "lower limb", ... their patent.      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141027/713097 ... of fighting, the definitive judgement has arrived: Roadrunnerfoot, ... innovative and accessible hi-tech prostheses with composite materials, ...
(Date:10/27/2014)... October 27, 2014 New Q4-2014 ... SoundConnect , an industry leading unified communication and ... and agents to deliver cloud-based audio and web/video ... opportunities. , With SoundConnect’s Q4 incentive partners ... video and/or web conferencing licenses sold, now through ...
(Date:10/27/2014)... , Oct. 27, 2014 Janssen Biotech, ... America (CCFA) announced today the launch of ... an educational campaign designed to provide resources ... on the paired role of nutrition and appropriate ... the multimedia assets associated with this release, please ...
(Date:10/25/2014)... 2014 The report “Adipic Acid ... Geography - Global Trends & Forecast to 2019” ... to market drivers, opportunities, and trends in different ... 27 figures spread through 217 slides and in-depth ... & Forecast to 2019”., http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/adipic-acid-269.html , Early ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Italian Lower Limb Prosthesis Company Wins Lawsuit Against German Giant Ottobock 2SoundConnect Unveils Q4 Partner Incentives 2Celebrity Cook Sunny Anderson Teams Up With Janssen And Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Of America To Launch Educational Campaign 2Celebrity Cook Sunny Anderson Teams Up With Janssen And Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Of America To Launch Educational Campaign 3Celebrity Cook Sunny Anderson Teams Up With Janssen And Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Of America To Launch Educational Campaign 4Adipic Acid Market Estimated to Grow $7,539.2 Million by 2019 - Report by MarketsandMarkets 2Adipic Acid Market Estimated to Grow $7,539.2 Million by 2019 - Report by MarketsandMarkets 3Adipic Acid Market Estimated to Grow $7,539.2 Million by 2019 - Report by MarketsandMarkets 4
Cached News: