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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Population cycles and outbreaks of small rodents: ten essential questions we still need to solve

Andreassen, Harry P.; Sundell, Janne; Ecke, Fraucke; Halle, Stefan; Haapakoski, Marko; Henttonen, Heikki; Huitu, Otso; Jacob, Jens; Johnsen, Kaja; Koskela, Esa; Luque-Larena, Juan Jose; Lecomte, Nicolas; Leirs, Herwig; Marien, Joachim; Neby, Magne; Ratti, Osmo; Sievert, Thorbjorn; Singleton, Grant R.; van Cann, Joannes; Vanden Broecke, Bram;
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Most small rodent populations in the world have fascinating population dynamics. In the northern hemisphere, voles and lemmings tend to show population cycles with regular fluctuations in numbers. In the southern hemisphere, small rodents tend to have large amplitude outbreaks with less regular intervals. In the light of vast research and debate over almost a century, we here discuss the driving forces of these different rodent population dynamics. We highlight ten questions directly related to the various characteristics of relevant populations and ecosystems that still need to be answered. This overview is not intended as a complete list of questions but rather focuses on the most important issues that are essential for understanding the generality of small rodent population dynamics.


Density dependence; Phase dependence; Voles; Mice; Lemmings

Published in

2021, volume: 195, number: 3, pages: 601-622
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Andreassen, Harry P.
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
Sundell, Janne
University of Helsinki
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Halle, Stefan
Friedrich Schiller University of Jena
Haapakoski, Marko
University of Jyvaskyla
Henttonen, Heikki
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Huitu, Otso
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Jacob, Jens
Julius Kuhn-Institut
Johnsen, Kaja
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
Koskela, Esa
University of Jyvaskyla
Luque-Larena, Juan Jose
Universidad de Valladolid
Lecomte, Nicolas
University of Moncton
Leirs, Herwig
University of Antwerp
Marien, Joachim
University of Antwerp
Neby, Magne
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
Ratti, Osmo
University of Lapland
Sievert, Thorbjorn
University of Helsinki
Singleton, Grant R.
University of Greenwich
van Cann, Joannes
University of Jyvaskyla
Vanden Broecke, Bram
University of Antwerp
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