Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 423–440

Interspecific competition in small rodents: from populations to individuals

  • Jana A. Eccard
  • Hannu Ylönen

DOI: 10.1023/A:1027305410005

Cite this article as:
Eccard, J.A. & Ylönen, H. Evolutionary Ecology (2003) 17: 423. doi:10.1023/A:1027305410005


The role of interspecific competition in shaping animal and plant communities has formed one of the major issues in ecology for decades. Small mammals, mainly rodents, have been among the model systems used for research on interspecific competition. Most studies within small mammal systems in the past have examined effects of competition on population attributes such as on population size, habitat use, or population dynamics. Population-level responses are the cumulative effects of individual responses, however, the influence of competition on individual life-history traits has rarely been studied. Research on life-histories may bridge gaps between population biology and effects of competition on individual behaviour. In this paper, we review recent research approaches to interspecific competition in rodents based on census data and species assemblages, that use regression analysis, time series analysis, removal and exclusion experiments, and showcase our own experimental research on the effects of interspecific competition on individual life-history traits in boreal voles.

competitive exclusionClethrionomyshabitat selectioninterspecific competitionlife-historyMicrotusreview

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jana A. Eccard
    • 1
  • Hannu Ylönen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland