Data from: Edible dormice (Glis glis) avoid areas with a high density of their preferred food plant - the European beech
Cornils, Jessica Svea et al. (2018), Data from: Edible dormice (Glis glis) avoid areas with a high density of their preferred food plant - the European beech, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5c6d5
Background: Numerous species, especially among rodents, are strongly affected by the availability of pulsed resources. The intermittent production of large seed crops in northern hemisphere tree species (e.g., beech Fagus spec.,oak Quercus spec., pine trees Pinus spec.) are prime examples of these resource pulses. Adult edible dormice are highly dependent on high energy seeds to maximize their reproductive output. For juvenile dormice the energy rich food is important to grow and fatten in a very short time period prior to hibernation. While these erratic, often large-scale synchronized mast events provide overabundant seed availability, a total lack of seed production can be observed in so-called mast failure years. We hypothesized that dormice either switch territories between mast and non-mast years, to maximize energy availability or select habitats in which alternative food sources are also available (e.g., fleshy fruits, cones). To analyze the habitat preferences of edible dormice we performed environmental niche factor analyses (ENFA) for 9 years of capture-recapture data. Results: As expected, the animals mainly used areas with high canopy closure and vertical stratification, probably to avoid predation. Surprisingly, we found that dormice avoided areas with high beech tree density,but in contrast preferred areas with a relatively high proportion of coniferous trees. Conifer cones and leaves can be an alternative food source for edible dormice and are less variable in availability. Conclusion: Therefore, we conclude that edible dormice try to avoid areas with large fluctuations in food availability to be able to survive years without mast in their territory.