Population Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 159–167 | Cite as

Effects of acorn abundance on density dependence in a Japanese wood mouse (Apodemus speciosus) population

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


We analysed the effects of Quercus crispula acorn abundance on the density dependence of the large Japanese wood mouse Apodemus speciosus using time series data (1992–2007). The data were obtained in a forest in northern Hokkaido, Japan, by live-trapping rodents and directly counting acorns on the ground. Acorn abundance in one year clearly influenced the abundance of wood mice in the following year in all models examined based on the Gompertz and Ricker model; in addition, the abundance of wood mice had effects on the population. Acorn abundance influenced the strength of density dependence (intraspecific competition) of the wood mouse population. When the abundance of acorns was high, density dependence was relaxed, and as a result the equilibrium density at which the population growth rate decreased to zero became higher. Those effects of acorn abundance were regarded as a nonlinear perturbation effect (sensu Royama 1992). The nonlinearity of density dependence was also detected; higher densities had stronger effects on population growth rates.


Dynamics Intraspecific competition Lateral perturbation effect Masting Nonlinear density dependence Nonlinear perturbation effect 



We are indebted to the staff of the Uryu Experimental Forest, Field Science Centre, Hokkaido University, for providing support for the investigation. Takuya Shimada and Gaku Takimoto critically read the manuscript and provided helpful comments. Takuya Kubo and Kohji Yamamura also gave us helpful comments on statistical analyses. Sandy Liebhold and anonymous reviewers greatly contributed to improving the manuscript. Ed Dyson assisted in editing the manuscript. This research was partially supported by a Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), no. 19370006 and no. 1938009117 to TS.

Supplementary material

10144_2008_76_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
WinBUGS program for parameter estimation for Model 2b


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Saitoh
    • 1
  • Jon Olav Vik
    • 2
  • Nils Chr. Stenseth
    • 2
  • Toshikazu Takanishi
    • 3
  • Shintaro Hayakashi
    • 3
  • Nobuo Ishida
    • 3
  • Masaaki Ohmori
    • 3
  • Toshio Morita
    • 1
  • Shigeru Uemura
    • 4
  • Masahiko Kadomatsu
    • 5
  • Jun Osawa
    • 6
  • Koji Maekawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (C.E.E.S.), Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Uryu Experimental Forest, Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversityMoshiri, HorokanaiJapan
  4. 4.Northern Forestry Research and Development Office, Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversityNayoroJapan
  5. 5.Nakagawa Experimental Forest, Field Science CenterHokkaido UniversityOtoineppuJapan
  6. 6.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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