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Quantifying the past and future impact of climate on outbreak patterns of bank voles (Myodes glareolus)

Authors

  • Christian Imholt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forestry, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Christian Imholt, Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forestry, Vertebrate Research, Toppheideweg 88, 48161 Münster, Germany. E-mail: christian.imholt@jki.bund.de

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  • Daniela Reil,

    1. Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forestry, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
    2. Department of Animal Ecology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
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  • Jana A Eccard,

    1. Department of Animal Ecology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
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  • Daniela Jacob,

    1. Climate Service Centre, Department of Climate System, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Nils Hempelmann,

    1. Climate Service Centre, Department of Climate System, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Jens Jacob

    1. Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forestry, Vertebrate Research, Münster, Germany
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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Central European outbreak populations of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus Schreber) are known to cause damage in forestry and to transmit the most common type of Hantavirus (Puumala virus, PUUV) to humans. A sound estimation of potential effects of future climate scenarios on population dynamics is a prerequisite for long-term management strategies. Historic abundance time series were used to identify the key weather conditions associated with bank vole abundance, and were extrapolated to future climate scenarios to derive potential long-term changes in bank vole abundance dynamics.

RESULTS

Classification and regression tree analysis revealed the most relevant weather parameters associated with high and low bank vole abundances. Summer temperatures 2 years prior to trapping had the highest impact on abundance fluctuation. Extrapolation of the identified parameters to future climate conditions revealed an increase in years with high vole abundance.

CONCLUSION

Key weather patterns associated with vole abundance reflect the importance of superabundant food supply through masting to the occurrence of bank vole outbreaks. Owing to changing climate, these outbreaks are predicted potentially to increase in frequency 3–4-fold by the end of this century. This may negatively affect damage patterns in forestry and the risk of human PUUV infection in the long term. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry

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