Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx

Chuan Yan, Nils Chr. Stenseth, Charles Krebs, Zhibin Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The classic 10-year population cycle of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus, Erxleben 1777) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis, Kerr 1792) in the boreal forests of North America has drawn much attention from both population and community ecologists worldwide; however, the ecological mechanisms driving the 10-year cyclic dynamic pattern are not fully revealed yet. In this study, by the use of historic fur harvest data, we constructed a series of generalized additive models to study the effects of density dependence, predation, and climate (both global climate indices of North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAO), Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and northern hemispheric temperature (NHT) and local weather data including temperature, rainfall, and snow). We identified several key pathways from global and local climate to lynx with various time lags: rainfall shows a negative, and snow shows a positive effect on lynx; NHT and NAO negatively affect lynx through their positive effect on rainfall and negative effect on snow; SOI positively affects lynx through its negative effect on rainfall. Direct or delayed density dependency effects, the prey effect of hare on lynx and a 2-year delayed negative effect of lynx on hare (defined as asymmetric predation) were found. The simulated population dynamics is well fitted to the observed long-term fluctuations of hare and lynx populations. Through simulation, we find density dependency and asymmetric predation, only producing damped oscillation, are necessary but not sufficient factors in causing the observed 10-year cycles; while extrinsic climate factors are important in producing and modifying the sustained cycles. Two recent population declines of lynx (1940–1955 and after 1980) were likely caused by ongoing climate warming indirectly. Our results provide an alternative explanation to the mechanism of the 10-year cycles, and there is a need for further investigation on links between disappearance of population cycles and global warming in hare–lynx system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3263-3271
    Number of pages9
    JournalGlobal Change Biology
    Volume19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    population cycle
    Climate change
    Rain
    Snow
    climate change
    Population dynamics
    rainfall
    snow
    predation
    Southern Oscillation
    climate
    Global warming
    North Atlantic Oscillation
    Temperature
    effect
    temperature
    density dependence
    population decline
    boreal forest
    global climate

    Cite this

    Yan, Chuan ; Stenseth, Nils Chr. ; Krebs, Charles ; Zhang, Zhibin. / Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx. In: Global Change Biology. 2013 ; Vol. 19. pp. 3263-3271.
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    title = "Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx",
    abstract = "The classic 10-year population cycle of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus, Erxleben 1777) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis, Kerr 1792) in the boreal forests of North America has drawn much attention from both population and community ecologists worldwide; however, the ecological mechanisms driving the 10-year cyclic dynamic pattern are not fully revealed yet. In this study, by the use of historic fur harvest data, we constructed a series of generalized additive models to study the effects of density dependence, predation, and climate (both global climate indices of North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAO), Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and northern hemispheric temperature (NHT) and local weather data including temperature, rainfall, and snow). We identified several key pathways from global and local climate to lynx with various time lags: rainfall shows a negative, and snow shows a positive effect on lynx; NHT and NAO negatively affect lynx through their positive effect on rainfall and negative effect on snow; SOI positively affects lynx through its negative effect on rainfall. Direct or delayed density dependency effects, the prey effect of hare on lynx and a 2-year delayed negative effect of lynx on hare (defined as asymmetric predation) were found. The simulated population dynamics is well fitted to the observed long-term fluctuations of hare and lynx populations. Through simulation, we find density dependency and asymmetric predation, only producing damped oscillation, are necessary but not sufficient factors in causing the observed 10-year cycles; while extrinsic climate factors are important in producing and modifying the sustained cycles. Two recent population declines of lynx (1940–1955 and after 1980) were likely caused by ongoing climate warming indirectly. Our results provide an alternative explanation to the mechanism of the 10-year cycles, and there is a need for further investigation on links between disappearance of population cycles and global warming in hare–lynx system.",
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    author = "Chuan Yan and Stenseth, {Nils Chr.} and Charles Krebs and Zhibin Zhang",
    year = "2013",
    doi = "10.1111/gcb.12321",
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    Yan, C, Stenseth, NC, Krebs, C & Zhang, Z 2013, 'Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx', Global Change Biology, vol. 19, pp. 3263-3271. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12321

    Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx. / Yan, Chuan; Stenseth, Nils Chr.; Krebs, Charles; Zhang, Zhibin.

    In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 19, 2013, p. 3263-3271.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Linking climate change to population cycles of hares and lynx

    AU - Yan, Chuan

    AU - Stenseth, Nils Chr.

    AU - Krebs, Charles

    AU - Zhang, Zhibin

    PY - 2013

    Y1 - 2013

    N2 - The classic 10-year population cycle of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus, Erxleben 1777) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis, Kerr 1792) in the boreal forests of North America has drawn much attention from both population and community ecologists worldwide; however, the ecological mechanisms driving the 10-year cyclic dynamic pattern are not fully revealed yet. In this study, by the use of historic fur harvest data, we constructed a series of generalized additive models to study the effects of density dependence, predation, and climate (both global climate indices of North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAO), Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and northern hemispheric temperature (NHT) and local weather data including temperature, rainfall, and snow). We identified several key pathways from global and local climate to lynx with various time lags: rainfall shows a negative, and snow shows a positive effect on lynx; NHT and NAO negatively affect lynx through their positive effect on rainfall and negative effect on snow; SOI positively affects lynx through its negative effect on rainfall. Direct or delayed density dependency effects, the prey effect of hare on lynx and a 2-year delayed negative effect of lynx on hare (defined as asymmetric predation) were found. The simulated population dynamics is well fitted to the observed long-term fluctuations of hare and lynx populations. Through simulation, we find density dependency and asymmetric predation, only producing damped oscillation, are necessary but not sufficient factors in causing the observed 10-year cycles; while extrinsic climate factors are important in producing and modifying the sustained cycles. Two recent population declines of lynx (1940–1955 and after 1980) were likely caused by ongoing climate warming indirectly. Our results provide an alternative explanation to the mechanism of the 10-year cycles, and there is a need for further investigation on links between disappearance of population cycles and global warming in hare–lynx system.

    AB - The classic 10-year population cycle of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus, Erxleben 1777) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis, Kerr 1792) in the boreal forests of North America has drawn much attention from both population and community ecologists worldwide; however, the ecological mechanisms driving the 10-year cyclic dynamic pattern are not fully revealed yet. In this study, by the use of historic fur harvest data, we constructed a series of generalized additive models to study the effects of density dependence, predation, and climate (both global climate indices of North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAO), Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and northern hemispheric temperature (NHT) and local weather data including temperature, rainfall, and snow). We identified several key pathways from global and local climate to lynx with various time lags: rainfall shows a negative, and snow shows a positive effect on lynx; NHT and NAO negatively affect lynx through their positive effect on rainfall and negative effect on snow; SOI positively affects lynx through its negative effect on rainfall. Direct or delayed density dependency effects, the prey effect of hare on lynx and a 2-year delayed negative effect of lynx on hare (defined as asymmetric predation) were found. The simulated population dynamics is well fitted to the observed long-term fluctuations of hare and lynx populations. Through simulation, we find density dependency and asymmetric predation, only producing damped oscillation, are necessary but not sufficient factors in causing the observed 10-year cycles; while extrinsic climate factors are important in producing and modifying the sustained cycles. Two recent population declines of lynx (1940–1955 and after 1980) were likely caused by ongoing climate warming indirectly. Our results provide an alternative explanation to the mechanism of the 10-year cycles, and there is a need for further investigation on links between disappearance of population cycles and global warming in hare–lynx system.

    KW - asymmetric predation

    KW - global warming

    KW - Lepus americanus

    KW - Lynx canadensis

    KW - North Atlantic Oscillation

    KW - population cycles

    KW - Southern Oscillation.

    U2 - 10.1111/gcb.12321

    DO - 10.1111/gcb.12321

    M3 - Article

    VL - 19

    SP - 3263

    EP - 3271

    JO - Global Change Biology

    JF - Global Change Biology

    SN - 1354-1013

    ER -