Data from: Plant-herbivore interactions: silicon concentration in tussock sedges and population dynamics of root voles
Wieczorek, Monika et al. (2016), Data from: Plant-herbivore interactions: silicon concentration in tussock sedges and population dynamics of root voles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0pq4t
1. It has been hypothesized that the induction of silicon (Si)-based plant defence in response to herbivore damage may engender rodent population cycles. Many studies have also considered accumulation of Si as a process controlled by geo-hydrological factors. 2. To test these ideas, we investigated the relationship between concentration of Si in fibrous tussock sedge (Carex appropinquata) and the population density of a major sedge consumer, the root vole (Microtus oeconomus), in field enclosures in natural habitat under a variety of natural water regimes and weather conditions. 3. We found that a high density of voles at the end of summer resulted in the immediate accumulation of Si by rhizomes, followed by accumulation of Si in leaves with a one-year lag time. The level of river flooding in the same year had an additional impact on Si concentration in rhizomes but did not affect silicification of leaves. 4. Overwinter changes in concentration of Si in sedges were influenced by fluctuations in ambient temperature and the depth of snow cover (multiple freeze-thaw cycles), thus affecting the quality of winter food available for voles. 5. Smaller voles had lower mortality during early winter than large voles, which seemed to be connected with changes in the quality of the autumn rather than the winter food base. Winter survival of voles was not associated with Si concentration in their faeces, however. 6. Our results suggest that changes in Si concentration in fibrous tussock sedge can be induced by changes in vole population density and are also additionally affected by the amount of flooding and weather conditions.
Biebrza National Park