Small mammal diversity and population dynamics in the greater serengeti ecosystem

Andrea Byrom, Wendy RUSCOE, Ally Nkwabi, Kristine Metzger, Guy Forrester, Meggan Craft, Sarah Durant, Stephen Makacha, John Bukombe, John Mchetto, Simon Mduma, Denne Reed, Katie Hampson, Anthony Sinclair

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter


Summary of over 45 years of data on small mammal diversity and abundance collected in the greater Serengeti ecosystem, quantifying the diversity of small mammals by habitat type and increasing the known number of species recorded in the system to a minimum of 37. Fluctuations were recorded in rodent abundance from 1968 to 2010 and demonstrated for the first time that ‘outbreaks’ in rodent abundance occur in natural ecosystems in Africa, not just in agricultural systems. Short-season rainfall is a major driver of rodent outbreaks and in turn small mammals play a vital role in the food web of the greater Serengeti ecosystem because several species of predators show a strong response to rodent abundance. In addition to the linkages between rainfall, primary productivity, small mammals and predators described in this chapter, there is increasing evidence that small mammals play a wide range of subtle and indirect roles in the function of savanna ecosystems. (pages 322 - 357)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSerengeti IV
Subtitle of host publicationSustaining biodiversity in a coupled human-natural system
EditorsA.R.E Sinclair, K.L Metzger, S.A.R Mduma, J.M Fryxell
Place of PublicationChicago, USA
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)139780226196336
ISBN (Print)9780226196169, 9780226195834
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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