Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate May Play Role in Lynx’s Hunting Ability

06.07.2004


Snow quality may affect the Canadian lynx’s ability to kill its prey, according to new research suggesting climate may be impacting one of the most fascinating ecological systems to intrigue biologists for decades. The University of Alberta’s Dr. Stan Boutin is part of a research team to study the relationship between the lynx and the snowshoe hare—an interaction that has grave implications on the dynamics of the whole boreal forest.



Boutin teamed up with other researchers from Canada, the United States and Norway—including evolutionary ecologist Nils Stenseth—to study the lynx-hare cycle, and how it related to the overall boreal forest community. Stenseth has previously argued that the 10-year cycle, which means a rise and fall of the hare population followed by a similar pattern of the lynx, differed according to regions of the country and those differences were tied to large-scale climatic patterns.

“The genetics of the lynx are quite different among these Canadian regions and we questioned whether there was some sort of barrier that might stop gene flow,” said Boutin, a biologist with the Faculty of Science. “We knew there was nothing physical between eastern and central regions, so we started to speculate that there may be something climate-related that would influence the lynx’s ability to prey on snow hares and their propensity to move between regions.”


In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, part of a series of papers already published, the team demonstrated that different snow conditions may, in fact, affect the dynamics of the Canadian lynx.

In particular, surface hardness, as determined by the frequency of warm winter spells control how deep the lynx sinks in the snow. For example, when there are few warm spells, the researchers write, the snow remains fluffy and the lynx sinks deep, whereas its main prey, the snowshoe hare does not sink in the snow and will easily escape under such conditions. But with increasing warm spells, the hares are not able to escape as well.

Boutin has collected rare data on the lynx’s ability to kill under different snow conditions for more than 10 years. His team was able to track the type of snow and whether the animal was successful in the kill or not. “This lynx-hare cycle is an amazing phenomenon and it has proven to be a very robust relationship,” said Boutin. “If we start to get climate warming and a crusting of the snow without long, deep cold spells, it could change the interaction and disrupt this robust system we’re used to seeing.”

This cycle forms one of the fundamental pulses in the boreal forest ecosystem. The hare is the prime herbivore in the system and if it were to disappear, it would have major implications to other species like predators and the structure of the plant community would be altered substantially, said Boutin.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>