Effects of masting on rodent space use accepted in Ecology and Evolution!

In the work we have used the spatially-explicit capture-recapture models (developed by Murray Efford) to study how mast seeding and density affects the home range size of the yellow-necked mouse.

Mast seeding is well-known to increase rodent density. Thus, any effects of masting on animal space use were invoked to be the consequence of dramatic increase in animal numbers. However, we have shown that density itself is not sufficient to explain variation in home range size in small mammals. In years following masting the space sharing among individuals was higher then in other years (while controlling for the effects of density, FSA on the figure below). We suggest that this is caused by an increase in relatedness among individuals in the peak phase of the population cycle. More information in the article (to be out there soon), but you can read the abstract here.

Stay tuned, the pdf-file of the article should be avaliable online soon! 🙂

Fig3Relationship between density of the yellow necked mouse and sigma (σ, model-derived estimate of home range size)in FSA (1st summer after masting) and SSA (2nd summer after masting) years. Dots represent session-specific estimates of parameters. Note that both axes are on log scale. The log-log slope of fitted curves equals -0.5, while the difference in intercepts indicate differences in home range overlap (i.e. higher intercept denotes larger home ranges for the same level of density). Trend lines are reported with 95% confidence intervals and are based on predictions from generalized linear mixed model (see Methods section for details)

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