To survive and reproduce in a cyclic environment – demography and conservation of the Arctic fox in Scandinavia
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis concerns the conservation and life history of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in Scandinavia. The Arctic fox was historically a widely distributed species in the Scandinavian mountain tundra with a population size of approximately 10 000 individuals during years with high resource availability, i.e. rodent peaks. However, due to over-harvest in the end of the 19th century, the population numbers declined to a few hundred individuals. Although legally protected for more than 80 years, the population has remained small. The main causes of the non-recovery have been attributed to irregularities in the lemming cycle and increased competitions with the larger red fox.
Through conservation actions including red fox culling and supplementary feeding, the population has started to recover in parts of its former distribution range. The Arctic fox is highly adapted to the lemming cycle and determine whether to reproduce or not and adjust the litter size relation to small rodent phase in combination with food abundance. In the small rodent increase phase, females produce litters equal to the peak phase, despite higher food abundance in the later. This overproduction of cubs can be selected for through a higher juvenile survival and reproductive value of cubs born in the increase phase compared to the other phases. The most important component affecting the reproductive value seem to be the survival during the first year after birth. In the small rodent increase phase 32% of the cubs survives their first year compared to 9% in the decrease phase. The Arctic fox in Scandinavia constitute an example of how a species can adapt their reproductive strategy to a fluctuating environment by adjustment of the reproduction.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2013. , 31 p.
Conservation, life-history, Alopex lagopus, survival
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87404ISBN: 978-91-7447-647-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-87404DiVA: diva2:606758
2013-04-12, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio, Professor
Angerbjörn, Anders, ProfessorElmhagen, Bodil, Dr
At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Accepted manuscript; Paper 5: Manuscript.2013-03-212013-02-052013-03-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers