A1 Journal article (refereed)
Predator–vole interactions in northern Europe: the role of small mustelids revised (2014)

Korpela, K., Helle, P., Henttonen, H., Korpimäki, E., Koskela, E., Ovaskainen, O., Pietiäinen, H., Sundell, J., Valkama, J., & Huitu, O. (2014). Predator–vole interactions in northern Europe: the role of small mustelids revised. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological sciences, 281(1797), Article 20142119. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2119

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Korpela, Katri; Helle, Pekka; Henttonen, Heikki; Korpimäki, Erkki; Koskela, Esa; Ovaskainen, Otso; Pietiäinen, Hannu; Sundell, Janne; Valkama, Jari; Huitu, Otso

Journal or series: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological sciences

ISSN: 0962-8452

eISSN: 1471-2954

Publication year: 2014

Volume: 281

Issue number: 1797

Article number: 20142119

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2119

Research data link: http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h3bt7

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/44837


The cyclic population dynamics of vole and predator communities is a key phenomenon in northern ecosystems, and it appears to be influenced by climate change. Reports of collapsing rodent cycles have attributed the changes to warmer winters, which weaken the interaction between voles and their specialist subnivean predators. Using population data collected throughout Finland during 1986–2011, we analyse the spatio-temporal variation in the interactions between populations of voles and specialist, generalist and avian predators, and investigate by simulations the roles of the different predators in the vole cycle. We test the hypothesis that vole population cyclicity is dependent on predator–prey interactions during winter. Our results support the importance of the small mustelids for the vole cycle. However, weakening specialist predation during winters, or an increase in generalist predation, was not associated with the loss of cyclicity. Strengthening of delayed density dependence coincided with strengthening small mustelid influence on the summer population growth rates of voles. In conclusion, a strong impact of small mustelids during summers appears highly influential to vole population dynamics, and deteriorating winter conditions are not a viable explanation for collapsing small mammal population cycles.

Keywords: population dynamics

Free keywords: density dependence; population cycles; population growth rate

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2014

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2021-09-08 at 11:14