Effects of ENSO-linked climate and vegetation on population dynamics of sympatric rodent species in semiarid grasslands of Inner Mongolia, China

G. Jiang, T. Zhao, J. Liu, L. Xu, G. Yu, H. He, Z. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) linked climate has been known to be associated with several rodent species, but its effects on rodent community at both spatial and temporal scales are not well studied. In this study, we investigated the possible causal chain relating ENSO, precipitation, temperature, and vegetation index (normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI) to rodent abundance for 14 sympatric rodent species in 21 counties of semiarid grasslands in Inner Mongolia, China, from 1982 to 2006. We found that both precipitation and temperature showed a generally direct positive effect on rodent abundance in many species in the current year, but indirect effects that operate through NDVI in the current or following year could have a reverse effect on abundance. We described one ENSO-linked precipitation bottom-up chain and three ENSO-linked temperature bottom-up chains. These observed bottom-up links reveal that in El Niño years, or 1 year after La Niña years, or 2 years after El Niño years, ENSO-driven climate or vegetation factors tend to increase population abundances of many sympatric rodent species in this region. We also found time-lag effects and the life-history strategy (i.e., functional groups of hibernating behavior, activity rhythm, or food habits) also contribute to the observed complicated effects of SOI on precipitation, temperature, NDVI, and ultimately rodent abundance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-691
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


Cite this