As soon as in a Century Occasion Causes Mice Populations To Explode – SciTechDaily


Dwarf Bamboo Mice

As soon as in a century flowering and seeding of dwarf bamboo enhance mice populations. Credit score: Reiko Matsushita

The flowering and seeding of dwarf bamboo have been proven to spice up mice populations. 

Japanese subject mice thrive within the large-scale flowering, seeding, and dying of dwarf bamboo (Sasa borealis), a phenomenon that solely occurs as soon as each 120 years, in response to a examine from Nagoya University in Japan.

Dwarf bamboo flowering and seeding on a big scale is an unusual incidence. This plant phenomenon is named masting, and the following one shouldn’t be anticipated for greater than 100 years. Throughout such occasions, which occur throughout “mast years,” sure vegetation produce considerable seed yields. Crops that synchronize their flowering and fruiting in mast years achieve this concurrently and over a large space.

Rodent outbreaks are regarded as linked to consuming bamboo seeds throughout these mast years. This has gotten plenty of consideration due to the agricultural and forest harm that happens, in addition to the opportunity of illness transmission from these rodents. Earlier stories of large-scale tree dying throughout comparable conditions owing to rat epidemics have been made.

Within the 2010s, the masting of dwarf bamboo, a Sasa species with a 120-year masting cycle, started to be noticed on forest flooring all through Japan. A crew of researchers from Nagoya University led by Associate Professor Hisashi Kajimura and doctoral student Hanami Suzuki, both from the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, investigated the effects of this simultaneous seeding of dwarf bamboo on local rodent populations in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Comparing data from before and after the masting, the researchers found an increase in the populations of both the large and small Japanese field mice, but no similar effect was seen on Smith’s voles in the same area. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecological Processes

“The interesting biological phenomenon that masting of bamboo and dwarf bamboo can cause an outbreak of forest rodents has long been something of a legend,” says Kajimura. “This research is important because it clarifies this long-suspected phenomenon by comparing rodent populations before and after masting.”

“What was interesting was that the increased populations of both species of rodent that we studied remained even two years after the masting, even though the dwarf bamboo itself had died,” explains Suzuki. “There was also a high proportion of female juveniles in the population, suggesting that the simultaneous fruiting resulted in good conditions for reproductive females. These findings clearly show for the first time how the field mouse population responds to the seeds of Sasa, such as dwarf bamboo, especially those that have a longer cycle and larger supply.”

The team is excited about the implications of their study. “This research is expected to provide important clues for understanding the realities of sudden environmental changes in forest ecosystems and the interactions among the organisms that live there,” they said.

Reference: “How does the 120-year cycle mast seeding of dwarf bamboo affect the rodent population?” by Hanami Suzuki, Haruka Kashiwagi and Hisashi Kajimura, 15 June 2022, Ecological Processes.
DOI: 10.1186/s13717-022-00385-x

The study was funded by the Nagoya University Fusion Frontier Fellowship Program, which began in FY2021.


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