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:3/7/2017)... March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , the leading social ... The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to support its reporting, ... The UK,s leading youth charity will be using Brandwatch ... and get a better understanding of the topics and issues that ... ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Summary This report ... Merck KGaA and its partnering interests and activities since ... Description The Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 ... of one of the world,s leading life sciences companies. ... purchase to ensure inclusion of the most up to ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... , Feb. 28, 2017   Acuant , ... software globally, announces significant enhancements to new and core ... 2016. New products include mobile and desktop Acuant FRM ... TM - a real time manual review of ... idScan® technology provides the fastest and most accurate capture ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... , ... March 29, 2017 , ... ... instrumentation for cell-based assays, disperses a quarterly travel award to noteworthy scientists who ... the company announced that its new round of awards are being given to ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - The University of ... Nordion, a business of Sterigenics International, and General Atomics ... been submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). ... production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Once operational, production from this ... U.S. demand for Mo-99, which currently must be imported ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... NetDimensions announced ... processes and enhance training plan management for consistent implementation of standards and regulatory ... the SHL Group to help improve and streamline their training and employee development ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... MA. (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... long time members of the Modular Building Institute (MBI), an international modular trade ... in the permanent modular category for the Pagliuca Life Lab at Harvard University. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: