Long-term pattern of population dynamics in the field vole from central Europe: cyclic pattern with dampening amplitude
CEES Extra seminar by Ana Gouveia
The subject of population cycles is regarded as controversial due to a number of unsettled questions such as whether or not the systems at high and low latitudes in Europe are the same. Recent evidence suggests that the common temporal pattern of vole dynamics referred to as collapsing population cycles is driven by stochastic influences. Since these patterns were observed to occur across vast areas of central and northern Europe, intrinsic change in system variability was excluded as a cause of regime shift. However, evidence from Finland oppose the hypothesis of winter climate forcing as a general explanation for loss of cycles. Despite concurrent interest, the key contention around the casual mechanisms that drive population cycles remains a hot topic in ecology. The aims of this study are to supplement information on the population dynamics of the field vole in the Czech Republic by describing and analysing 25 years of time series data, additionally, to increase the robustness of the results we applied three different modelling approaches in order to analyse the data: annual, seasonal and Bayesian. The results obtained strongly indicate that Microtus agrestis population in central Europe are not only characterised as cyclic but also exhibit patterns of dampened amplitude resembling those observed in Fennoscandia.