Using methods of geometric morphometrics, significant differences have been revealed in manifestations of variability and morphological disparity in allochronous samples from the population of model species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus Schreb. 1780), in the Middle Urals at different levels of rodent community (taxocene) completeness in different years. Two states of the taxocene—oligospecific (two species) and polyspecific (five species)—and the level of relative abundance of bank voles (high or low) have been taken into account. Comparative analysis of variation in the size and shape of the mandible in same-aged (late-summer) young of the year has shown that significant morphogenetic differences exist between the animals sampled from the rodent taxocene at its different states (oligospecific and polyspecific) and, to a lesser extent, at high and low levels of abundance. The level of variation and the parameter of intragroup morphological disparity (MNND) in the mandible shape reach a maximum when the community has a reduced composition and decrease to a minimum when its composition is complete (i.e., in the oligo- and polyspecific taxocene). A parallelism is observed in the manifestation of morphofunctional changes of the mandible in male and female voles under conditions when the taxocene has high abundance and oligospecific composition or low abundance but polyspecific composition. Different morphogenetic responses of the population to oligo- and polyspecific composition of the community are considered as a compensatory increase of morphological disparity in the dominant species (the bank vole) under conditions of incomplete composition of the taxocene and low population density, in accordance with Chernov’s ecological compensation principle.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 20, 2017
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