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Study on Process and Mechanism for Self-regulation in Small Mammal Population in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Author: Update time: 07-19-2009 Printer Text Size: A A A


Changes in population density are a consequence of changes in demographic parameters in small mammal populations, whereas the changes in demography are closely associated with life-history traits. We carried out studies on the mechanism of intrinsic factors regulating small mammal population dynamics on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau recently. The studies were funded by support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30770351, 30370249,30570294,). Based on our results, we proposed that coupling effects of stress-immunology–low winter temperature were most likely to influence the dynamic nature of small mammal populations in northern region, particularly in high density phase (Fig 1). The stress-immunology-low winter temperature are important factors to influence population dynamics by four ways, 1) social stress may be a proximate causation of the density dependence in the rate of recruitment and rate of change population of root voles; 2) maternal stress induced by high-density populations would affect reproductive performance and winter survival of F1 individuals via effects of maternal stress on their offspring’s immunocompetence and breeding, and in turn decrease population number via the density-dependent transmission of the effects across generations; 3) low winter-temperature is a crucial factor to affect individual immunocompetence, which can derive a decline in overwintering population number; 4) maternal stress, individual stress and low winter-temperature stress have negative interactive synergistic effects on breeding success and overwintering survival rates in small mammal populations.

Fig 1. Conceptual of models of stress-immunity-population regulation hypothesis

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