Population Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 249–256 | Cite as

Effects of acorn masting on population dynamics of three forest-dwelling rodent species in Hokkaido, Japan

  • Takashi Saitoh
  • Jun Osawa
  • Toshikazu Takanishi
  • Shintaro Hayakashi
  • Masaaki Ohmori
  • Toshio Morita
  • Shigeru Uemura
  • Jon Olav Vik
  • Nils Chr.  Stenseth
  • Koji Maekawa
Original Article


The effects of the abundance of acorns of the oak, Quercus crispula, on the population dynamics of three rodent species (Apodemus speciosus, A. argenteus, and Clethrionomys rufocanus) were analyzed using time series data (1992–2006). The data were obtained in a forest in northern Hokkaido, Japan, by live trapping rodents and directly counting acorns on the ground. Apodemus speciosus generally increased in abundance following acorn masting. However, the clear effect of acorn abundance was not detected for the other two rodent species. Acorns of Q. crispula contain tannins, which potentially have detrimental effects on herbivores. Apodemus speciosus may reduce the damage caused by acorn tannins with tannin-binding salivary proteins and tannase-producing bacteria, whereas such physiological tolerance to tannins is not known in the other two rodent species. The differences in the effects of acorns between the three species may be due to differences in their physiological tolerance to tannins.


Apodemus argenteus Apodemus speciosus Clethrionomys rufocanus Density dependence Quercus crispula 



We are indebted to the Uryu Experimental Forest, Field Science Center, Hokkaido University, for providing support for the investigation. Takuya Shimada critically read the manuscript and provided valuable comments. The manuscript was improved by helpful comments of the editor and reviewers. This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) No. 17370006 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to TS.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Saitoh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jun Osawa
    • 2
  • Toshikazu Takanishi
    • 3
  • Shintaro Hayakashi
    • 3
  • Masaaki Ohmori
    • 3
  • Toshio Morita
    • 3
  • Shigeru Uemura
    • 4
  • Jon Olav Vik
    • 5
  • Nils Chr.  Stenseth
    • 5
  • Koji Maekawa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Uryu Experimental Forest, Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversityHorokanaiJapan
  4. 4.Northern Forestry Research and Development Office, Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversityNayoroJapan
  5. 5.Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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