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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Cykliska sorkar, ändrat bytesval hos rödräv och rådjurets populationsdynamik

Kjellander Petter, Nordström Jonas


Medium-sized predators sometimes switch to alternative prey species as their main prey declines. Our objective of this study was to test the alternative prey hypothesis for a medium sized predator (red fox, Vulpes vulpes), a small cyclically fluctuating main prey (microtine voles) and larger alternative prey (roe deer fawns, Capreolus capreolus). We used long-term time series (28 yrs.) on voles, red fox and roe deer from the Grimsö Wildlife Research Area (59º40΄N, 15º25΄E) in south-central Sweden to investigate interspecific relationships in the annual fluctuations in numbers of the studied species. Annual variation in number of roe deer fawns in autumn was significantly and positively related to vole density and significantly and negatively related to the number of fox litters in the previous year. In years of high vole density, predation on roe deer fawns was small, but in years of low vole density predation was more severe. The time lag between number of fox litters and predation on fawns was due to the time lag in functional response of red fox in relation to voles. This study demonstrates for the first time that the alternative prey hypothesis is applicable to the system red fox, voles and roe deer fawns

Published in

2003, Volume: 2003, number: 101, pages: 338-344
Publisher: OIKOS