Sunday, 7 April 2013

Vole Population Booms on the Decline in Europe

Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 04 April 2013 Time: 02:53 PM ET

Herbivorous voles play a critical role in the food chain. They are prey for many predators and important consumers of vegetation. Historically, voles have had three- to five-year boom-and-bust population cycles. However, over the past half-century, these cycles have been much less pronounced, a new study finds. The widespread flattening of vole populations may be due to climate change, and it could have detrimental effects on species that rely on these little creatures.

Voles are close to the bottom of the food chain, and the fate of these animals tends to have a ripple effect on the rest of the ecosystem, said ecologist Xavier Lambin of the University of Aberdeen in the U.K., and senior author of the study published today (April 4) in the journal Science.

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