Skip to main content
Log in

Use of space and habitats by meadow voles at the home range, patch and landscape scales

  • Population Ecology
  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Oecologia Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Using capture/recapture methods, we examined the spatial usage patterns of Microtus pennsylvanicus within and between experimentally created habitat patches of three sizes (1.0, 0.25 and 0.0625 ha) and between a 20-ha fragmented and a 20-ha continuous habitat landscape. We tested the prediction that home ranges near patch edges would be qualitatively different from those in patch interiors, and that the edge:interior habitat ratio could be used to make predictions concerning the dispersion and spatial use of individuals occupying different sized patches and between landscapes with different habitat structure. We found adult females on patch edges to have larger and more exclusive home ranges, larger body sizes, longer residence times, and to reproduce at a higher frequency than those in patch interiors. These “edge effects” also appeared to be largely responsible for the greater proportion of larger, reproductive females we found in small than larger patches and in the fragmented than in the continuous habitat (control) landscape. The selection of higher quality edge habitats by dominant females and the relegation of sub-dominants to patch interiors provides an explanation for the observed differences in the distribution and performance of females over patches and between landscapes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Baker JA, Brooks RJ (1982) Impact of raptor predation on a declining vole population. J Mammal 63:297–300

    Google Scholar 

  • Belsky AJ (1986) Does herbivory benefit plants? A review. Am Nat 127:870–892

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowers MA (1994) Dynamics of age- and habitat-structured populations. Oikos 69:327–333

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowers MA, Dooley JL Jr (1993) Predation hazard and seed removal by small mammals: microhabitat versus patch scale effects. Oecologia 94:247–254

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowers MA, Welch DN, Carr TG (1990) Home range size adjustments in response to natural and manipulated water availability in the eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus. Can J Zool 68:2016–2020

    Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn A, Lidicker WZ Jr (1983) Microhabitat heterogeneity and population ecology of an herbivorous rodent, Microtus californicus Oecologia 59:167–177

    Google Scholar 

  • Desy EA, Batzli GO (1989) Effects of food availability and predation on prairie vole demography: a field experiment. Ecology 70:411–421

    Google Scholar 

  • Diffendorfer JE, Gaines MS, Holt RD (1995) Habitat fragmentation and movements of three small mammals (Sigmodon, Microtus, and Peromyscus). Ecology 76:827–839

    Google Scholar 

  • Dooley JL Jr (1993) Patch effects on rodent demography. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

  • Foster J, Gaines MS (1991) The effects of a successional habitat mosaic on a small mammal community. Ecology 72:1358–1373

    Google Scholar 

  • Getz LL (1985) Habitats. In: Tamerin RH (ed) Biology of New World Microtus (Special publication 8). American Society of Mammalogists, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas, USA, pp 286–309

    Google Scholar 

  • Harper SJ, Bollinger EK, Barrett GW (1993) Effects of habitat patch shape on population dynamics of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). J Mammal 74:1045–1055

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris LD (1984) The fragmented forest: island biogeography theory and the preservation of biotic diversity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  • Ims RA (1987) Responses in spatial organization and behavior to manipulations of the food resources in the vole Clethrionomys rufocanus. J Anim Ecol 56:585–596

    Google Scholar 

  • Ims RA, Rolstad J, Wegge P (1993) Predicting space use responses to habitat fragmentation: can voles, Microtus oeconomus, serve as an experimental model system (EMS) for capercaillie grouse, Tetro urogallus, in boreal forests? Conserv Biol 63:261–268

    Google Scholar 

  • Jenrich RI, Turner FB (1969) Measurement of non-circular home range. J Theor Biol 22:227–237

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones EN (1990) Effects of forage availability on home range and population density of Microtus pennsylvanicus. J Mammal 71:382–389

    Google Scholar 

  • Krebs CJ (1970) Microtus population biology: behavioral changes associated with the population cycle in M. ochrogaster and M. pennsylvanicus. Ecology 51:34–52

    Google Scholar 

  • Krebs CJ, DeLong KT (1965) A Microtus population with supplemental food. J Mammal 46:566–573

    Google Scholar 

  • Krebs JR (1971) Territory and breeding densities in the great tit, Parus major. Ecology 52:2–22

    Google Scholar 

  • Lloyd HG (1970) Variation and adaptation in reproductive performance. Symp Zool Soc Lond 26:165–188

    Google Scholar 

  • Lomnicki A (1980) Regulation of population density due to individual differences and patchy environment. Oikos 35:185–193

    Google Scholar 

  • Madison DM (1980) Space use and social structure in meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 7:65–71

    Google Scholar 

  • Madison DM (1985) Activity rhythms and spacing. In: Tamarin RH (ed) Biology of New World Microtus (Special publication 8). American Society of Mammalogists, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas, USA, pp 373–419

    Google Scholar 

  • O'Neill RV, DeAngelis DL, Waide JB, Allen TA (1986) A hierarchical concept of ecosystems. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  • Ostfeld RS, Klosterman LL (1986) Demographic substructure in a California vole population inhabiting a patchy environment. J Mammal 67:693–704

    Google Scholar 

  • Ostfeld RS, Pugh SR, Seamon JO, Tamarin RH (1988) Space use and reproductive success in a population of meadow voles. J Anim Ecol 57:385–394

    Google Scholar 

  • Otis DL, Burnham KP, White GC, Anderson DR (1978) Statistical inference from capture data on closed animal population. Wildlife Monogr 62:5–135

    Google Scholar 

  • Robinson GR, Holt RD, Gaines MS, Hamburg SP, Johnson ML, Fitch HS, Martinke EA (1992) Diverse and contrasting effects of habitat fragmentation. Science 257:524–526

    Google Scholar 

  • Sheridan M, Tamarin RH (1988) Space use, longevity, and reproductive success in meadow voles. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 22:85–90

    Google Scholar 

  • Siegel S (1956) Nonparametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Stamps JA, BuechnerM (1985) The territorial defense hypothesis and the ecology of insular vertebrates. Q Rev Biol 60:155–181

    Google Scholar 

  • Stamps JA, Buechner M, Krishnan VV (1987) The effects of edge geometry on territorial defense costs: intruder pressure in bounded habitats. Am Zool 27:307–325

    Google Scholar 

  • Stenseth NC (1985) Why mathematical models in evolutionary ecology? In: Cooley JH, Golley FB (eds) Trends in ecological research for the 1980s, Plenum, New York, pp 239–287

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Horne B (1982) Niches of adult and juvenile deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in seral stages of coniferous forest. Ecology 63:992–1003

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiens JA (1973) Interterritorial habitat variation in grasshopper and savanah sparrows. Ecology 54:877–884

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiens JA (1989) Spatial scaling in ecology. Funct Ecol 3:385–397

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiens JA, Crawford CS, Gosz JR (1985) Boundary dynamics: a conceptual framework for studying landscape ecosystems. Oikos 45:421–427

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiens JA, Stenseth NC, Van Horne B, Ims RA (1993) Ecological mechanisms and landscape ecology. Oikos 66:369–380

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolff JO (1985) Behavior. In: Tamarin RH (ed) Biology of New World Microtus (Special publication 8). American Society of mammalogists, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas, USA, pp 340–372

    Google Scholar 

  • Yahner RH (1988) Changes in wildlife communities near edges: Conserv Biol 2:242–251

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bowers, M.A., Gregario, K., Brame, C.J. et al. Use of space and habitats by meadow voles at the home range, patch and landscape scales. Oecologia 105, 107–115 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00328798

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00328798

Key words

Navigation