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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/338

Title: Effect of conspecifics on survival during population declines in Microtus townsendii
Authors: Boonstra, Rudy
Issue Date: 1977
Publisher: British Ecological Society
Citation: Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 46, No. 3. (Oct., 1977), pp. 835-851.
Abstract: (1) To test part of Chitty's hypothesis (1967) that behavioural interactions are responsible for population declines in voles, I predicted that a drastic reduction in population size during a decline should increase survival. (2) One control grid was monitored throughout this study and the populations on it experienced severe spring declines in 1973 and 1974. (3) Three experimental areas were set up; two in early 1973 (X, L) and one in early 1974 (Z). Producing low densities on two of the experimental areas (X, Z) during the spring decline improved the survival of females but not of males. Transferring individuals from a declining population to an evacuated area (L) improved neither male nor female survival. Producing low density overwintering populations (X, L) improved the survival of both sexes. (4) There was no relationship between density and survival in males in decline periods; in females, there was a negative relationship between density and survival in one decline, but not another. (5) Relatively more young animals survived the spring decline on a grid maintained at low density (X) than on the control grid. (6) During the declines, movements of both males and females on the low density areas increased, but only on the grid reduced in the autumn was this significant. (7) A behavioural model is proposed in which females compete for sites in which to raise young while males compete for females. Cropping experiments to test this model are suggested.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/338
Appears in Collections:Biology

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