Population Ecology

, 50:267 | Cite as

Interlinking hare and lynx dynamics using a century’s worth of annual data

  • Jon Olav Vik
  • Christian N. Brinch
  • Stan Boutin
  • Nils Christian Stenseth
Original Article


The classic fur trade records on Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis) have rarely been analysed in direct conjunction with data on its principal prey, the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). Comparable long-term data for hare exist only for a region south of Hudson Bay. We fitted a bivariate log-linear time-series model to this hare and lynx data to disentangle the within- and between-population interactions of these species. To reduce problems with fur returns being non-normal and non-linearly related to abundance, we transformed the fur returns to a normal distribution based on sample quantiles. The estimated effect on next year’s lynx abundance of a 1% increase in current hare abundance was a 0.23% (SE = 0.05) increase in lynx. Conversely, a 1% increase in current lynx abundance corresponded to a 0.46% (SE = 0.12) decrease in next year’s hare abundance. This contrasts with some earlier studies. However, these studies mixed hare data from south of Hudson Bay with lynx totals for all of Canada. Despite this asymmetry of interaction strengths, coefficients of determination were similar for hare versus lynx and lynx versus hare, because hare abundance varies more than lynx. Both species showed clear intraspecific density-dependence of about equal strength. A 1% increase in current abundance increased next year’s abundance by about 0.75%.


Linear model Population cycles Population dynamics Predator–prey models 



This work was funded through grants from the Nordic Ministry (to NCoE-EcoClim) and from the University of Oslo (to CEES). Helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper were provided by Øistein Holen, Charley J. Krebs, and two anonymous referees.

Supplementary material

10144_2008_88_MOESM1_ESM.doc (174 kb)
Details of statical analysis (Supplementary material DOC 173 kb).


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Olav Vik
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christian N. Brinch
    • 1
    • 4
  • Stan Boutin
    • 2
  • Nils Christian Stenseth
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE)Norwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  4. 4.Statistics Norway, Research DepartmentOsloNorway

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