Population cycles and outbreaks of small rodents: ten essential questions we still need to solve

Harry P. Andreassen, Janne Sundell, Fraucke Ecke, Stefan Halle, Marko Haapakoski, Heikki Henttonen, Otso Huitu, Jens Jacob, Kaja Johnsen, Esa Koskela, Juan Jose Luque-Larena, Nicolas Lecomte, Herwig Leirs, Joachim Mariën, Magne Neby, Osmo Rätti, Thorbjörn Sievert, Grant R. Singleton, Joannes van Cann, Bram Vanden BroeckeHannu Ylönen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Most small rodent populations in the world have fascinating population dynamics. In the northern hemisphere, voles and lemmings tend to show population cycles with regular fluctuations in numbers. In the southern hemisphere, small rodents tend to have large amplitude outbreaks with less regular intervals. In the light of vast research and debate over almost a century, we here discuss the driving forces of these different rodent population dynamics. We highlight ten questions directly related to the various characteristics of relevant populations and ecosystems that still need to be answered. This overview is not intended as a complete list of questions but rather focuses on the most important issues that are essential for understanding the generality of small rodent population dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2020
MoEC publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Density dependence
  • Lemmings
  • Mice
  • Phase dependence
  • Voles

Field of science

  • Ecology, evolutionary biology


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