TITLE

Correlated cycles of snowshoe hares and Dall’s sheep lambs

AUTHOR(S)
Wilmshurst, J. F.; Greer, R.; Henry, J. D.
PUB. DATE
May 2006
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Zoology;May2006, Vol. 84 Issue 5, p736
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
We tested the hypothesis that the number of surviving lambs counted in mid-summer from a Dall’s sheep (Ovis dalli Nelson, 1884) population on Sheep Mountain, Yukon, Canada, is correlated to the density of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus Erxleben, 1777) in the surrounding boreal forest. We examined correlations between the number of lambs and the number of snowshoe hares at different phases in the 10-year snowshoe hare cycle. There were significant cross-correlations between the ratio of lambs to nursery sheep and hare densities with 1- and 2-year time lags. Lamb numbers also showed clockwise rotation with respect to hare densities when points were joined chronologically. Simple population models suggest several relationships: when hare densities are high, lamb population growth rates are inversely related to hare densities; during the low phase of the hare population cycle, lamb population growth rates show density-independent fluctuations. In the absence of compelling evidence for direct interactions between Dall’s sheep and hares, we hypothesize that the inverse relationship between lamb population growth and hare density is mediated indirectly by shared predators.
ACCESSION #
21942783

 

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