Rodent and predator population dynamics in an eruptive system

Rodent and predator population dynamics in an eruptive system A computer model of the population dynamics of introduced house mice ( Mus musculus L.), ship rats ( Rattus rattus L.) and stoats ( Mustela erminea L.) in New Zealand forest was constructed, to test the relative importance of food availability and predation in shaping observed small-mammal population dynamics. Ship rats and mice are the two common rodent species present in most New Zealand forests, and exhibit eruptive population dynamics. Stoats are the only common mammalian predator, and undergo large density fluctuations following periodic rodent eruptions. A number of outputs and predictions from the model were developed. The model highlights the overall importance of variation in food availability in determining the timing and amplitude of rodent population eruptions. It indicates that predators can not prevent a prey–species eruption, primarily due to differences in reproductive biology. Predation however, can delay the start of the prey-population increase during the eruption. The role of predators in limiting the peak prey-population size will depend on the size of the energy input. In a full-scale eruption following maximal tree seeding, predators cannot significantly truncate peak prey-population size. Predators should be able to significantly hasten the rate of decline in the prey populations, although the strength of predator limitation will depend on the severity of food limitation and cold-induced mortality over the same period. Predators can limit prey populations during the post-crash low phase. As with the crash phase, the strength of predator limitation in the low phase will depend on the severity of food limitation and natural mortality. The model highlights gaps in current knowledge of predator and prey species biology and ecology. The model highlights key areas where further field study should provide a better understanding of the factors driving small-mammal communities in New Zealand. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Modelling Elsevier

Rodent and predator population dynamics in an eruptive system

Ecological Modelling, Volume 142 (3) – Aug 15, 2001

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
ISSN
0304-3800
eISSN
1872-7026
DOI
10.1016/S0304-3800(01)00327-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A computer model of the population dynamics of introduced house mice ( Mus musculus L.), ship rats ( Rattus rattus L.) and stoats ( Mustela erminea L.) in New Zealand forest was constructed, to test the relative importance of food availability and predation in shaping observed small-mammal population dynamics. Ship rats and mice are the two common rodent species present in most New Zealand forests, and exhibit eruptive population dynamics. Stoats are the only common mammalian predator, and undergo large density fluctuations following periodic rodent eruptions. A number of outputs and predictions from the model were developed. The model highlights the overall importance of variation in food availability in determining the timing and amplitude of rodent population eruptions. It indicates that predators can not prevent a prey–species eruption, primarily due to differences in reproductive biology. Predation however, can delay the start of the prey-population increase during the eruption. The role of predators in limiting the peak prey-population size will depend on the size of the energy input. In a full-scale eruption following maximal tree seeding, predators cannot significantly truncate peak prey-population size. Predators should be able to significantly hasten the rate of decline in the prey populations, although the strength of predator limitation will depend on the severity of food limitation and cold-induced mortality over the same period. Predators can limit prey populations during the post-crash low phase. As with the crash phase, the strength of predator limitation in the low phase will depend on the severity of food limitation and natural mortality. The model highlights gaps in current knowledge of predator and prey species biology and ecology. The model highlights key areas where further field study should provide a better understanding of the factors driving small-mammal communities in New Zealand.

Journal

Ecological ModellingElsevier

Published: Aug 15, 2001

References

  • CRISP (crayfish and rice integrated system of production): 2. Modelling crayfish ( Procambarus clarkii ) population dynamics
    Anastácio, P.M; Nielsen, S.N; Marques, J.C
  • Modelling ecological and economic systems with STELLA: Part II
    Costanza, R; Gottlieb, S
  • Responses of stoats and least weasels to fluctuating food abundances: is the low phase of the vole cycle due to mustelid predation?
    Korpimaki, E; Norrdahl, K; Rinta-Jaskari, T
  • Prolonged prey suppression by carnivores-predator removal experiments
    Newsome, A.E; Parer, I; Catling, P.C
  • Limits to predator regulation of rabbits in Australia: evidence from predator removal experiments
    Pech, R.P; Sinclair, A.R.E; Newsome, A.E; Catling, P.C

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