Small Mammal Monitoring Project

Population dynamics of small rodents in the mixed forests of eastern Canada.
– Dr. Dominique Fauteux (CMN), Dr. Pierre Legagneux (U Laval), Marianne Valcourt, Ilona Grentzmann, Maëliss Hoarau, Mathilde Poirier (graduate students U Laval)

The regular and irregular outbreaks of micromammals are a stimulating component of ecosystems, especially the most northern ones. In the Arctic, the cycles of lemming abundance occurs every 3-4 years and is known to create faunal pulsations through their beneficial effect on predators and on other prey that share the same predators. Vole cycles in forest environments have been observed mainly in Boreal Fennoscandia, but they are rarer in the boreal forests of North America. However, few studies have been carried out in the eastern part of the country in both boreal and temperate forests where fluctuations in voles’ abundance are unknown. The objective of this study is to carry out long-term monitoring of the annual densities of voles and forest mice on the Kenauk property and thus better understand the population dynamics of these species in southern Quebec and their impact on their predators. This project will conduct inter-site comparisons to gain a better understanding of the role of small rodents in the functioning of forest ecosystems in Eastern Canada. It will also compare the observed fluctuation patterns to those of Bylot Island, Nunavut, in the Arctic where the mechanisms leading to lemming abundance cycles have been studied for nearly 30 years.

Stay tuned for results