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The Effect of Extra Food on Small Rodent Populations: II. Voles (Microtus townsendii)

Mary J. Taitt and Charles J. Krebs
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Feb., 1981), pp. 125-137
DOI: 10.2307/4036
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4036
Page Count: 13
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The Effect of Extra Food on Small Rodent Populations: II. Voles (Microtus townsendii)
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Abstract

(1) Voles on three areas were provided with different levels of extra food in the form of laboratory chow and oats for approximately one year. (2) On areas with intermediate and high extra food, population density increased to twice the control density. (3) Extra food increased immigration and reproduction, and shortened the winter non-breeding season. (4) Males and females had smaller home ranges on areas with extra food. This may have facilitated immigration to these populations. (5) Voles were removed from three other areas and re-colonization was measured. Immigration was related to the density of extra food; three times as many voles colonized a high food area compared with a control. (6) These results, combined with those of previous research which has shown that a viable surplus of voles exists in natural populations, suggest that the vole's population size is limited by both behaviour and food.

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