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Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance and long-term community change

Cite this dataset

Giraudoux, Patrick; Couval, Geoffroy (2020). Numerical response of predators to large variations of grassland vole abundance and long-term community change [Dataset]. Dryad.


Voles can reach high densities with multi-annual population fluctuations of large amplitude, and they are at the base of predator communities in Northern Eurasia and Northern America. This status places them at the heart of management conflicts wherein crop protection and health concerns are often raised against conservation issues. Here, a 20-year survey describes the effects of large variations in grassland vole populations on the densities and the daily theoretical food intakes (TFI) of vole predators based on roadside counts. Our results show how the predator community responded to prey variations of large amplitude and how it reorganized with the increase in a dominant predator, here the red fox, which likely negatively impacted hare, European wildcat and domestic cat populations. This population increase did not lead to an increase in the average number of predators present in the study area, suggesting compensations among resident species due to intra-guild predation or competition. Large variations in vole predator number could be clearly attributed to the temporary increase in the populations of mobile birds of prey in response to grassland vole outbreaks. Our study provides empirical support for more timely and better-focused actions in wildlife management and vole population control, and it supports an evidence-based and constructive dialogue about management targets and options between all stakeholders of such socio-ecosystems.

The data set includes:

S1 kml file. Location of the study area (can be dropped in a Google Earth window or read from a GIS)

S2 Excel file. Road-side counts (sheet 1) and list of species observed (sheet 2)

S3 Excel file. Small mammal data

S4 Excel file. Data for computing theoretical daily food intakes


All details are given in the article cited above.

Usage notes

S2, S3 and S4 files have self-sufficient comments corresponding to methods described in the article cited above.


Ministère de l'Agriculture

Franche-Comté Regional Council

Ministère de l'Agriculture