Skip to main content

Data from: They like it cold, but only in winter: climate‐mediated effects on a hibernator

Cite this dataset

Fietz, Joanna; Langer, Franz; Schlund, Wolfgang (2020). Data from: They like it cold, but only in winter: climate‐mediated effects on a hibernator [Dataset]. Dryad.


  1. Variations in ambient temperature (Ta) profoundly influence energy consumption in endotherms and therefore their survival and fitness. But depending on whether endotherms are hibernating or active, the same changes in Ta may have opposing consequences for their energy consumption.
  2. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate how variations in Ta, occurring during hibernation and during the active period of a hibernator, affect different fitness relevant traits.
  3. To understand whether changes in Ta impact phenology, body mass and reproduction in a small mammalian hibernator, we analysed Ta variations and detailed capture-mark-recapture data on edible dormice (Glis glis) collected between 1993 and 2016 in South-West Germany.
  4. Results revealed that during hibernation a Ta increase of 1°C advanced the date of first capture after hibernation by 6 days, but only if food availability during the preceding year was low. In contrast, after years of comparatively high food availability, date of first capture was not affected by Ta, but dormice had a significantly lower body mass after emergence, if Ta during hibernation was elevated (3 to 6g per 1°C). We presume that an earlier emergence as well as a lower body mass after emergence potentially reduce the chance to survive.
  5. During the active period of edible dormice, mean spring Ta a did not affect the date of birth but was positively associated with litter size, potentially improving reproductive success.
  6. Results of this study highlight that, depending on the physiological state of a hibernator, an increase in Ta can have positive and negative effects on fitness relevant traits.


Data were collected in a capture - mark - recapture study.

Ambient temperature data are retrieved from the weather station Stuttgart-Echterdingen, DWD (Deutscher Wetterdienst; 


Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Award: FI 831/1

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: FI 831/3

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: FI 831/5

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: FI 831/6

Margarete von Wrangell Programme

German Wildlife Foundation

Margarete von Wrangell Programme

German Wildlife Foundation