Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alpine marmot spreads into Catalan Pyrenees

Date:
March 9, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Researchers in Spain have demonstrated, using a map of the potential distribution, the alpine marmot's capacity for adaptation in the fields of the Pyrenees. Its quick proliferation makes it a successful example of species introduction.

The alpine marmot spreads into the Catalan Pyrenees.
Credit: Maximilian Naar

Researchers from the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) have demonstrated, using a map of the potential distribution, the alpine marmot's capacity for adaptation in the fields of the Pyrenees. Its quick proliferation makes it a successful example of species introduction.

At the end of the Pleistocene (10,000 years ago), the increase in temperatures brought an end to the alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) in the Pyrenees, but between 1950 and 1988, the French government introduced around 400 specimens into the Pyrenees. The first appearances in Spain date back to 1962-1964 in the valley of Otal (Huesca).

"As an herbivore that lives in colonies, its impact on the flora of the alpine and subalpine fields can be significant. In addition, it can be a key competitor for other herbivores that it coexists with, like the ptarmigan," says Bernat Claramunt, main author and researcher in CREAF and in UAB, adding that the impact on the ptarmigan is "very low."

But to determine the magnitude of the direct or indirect effects of the presence of the alpine marmot on the alpine community, the team of scientists from CREAF-UAB, together with the association for environmental studies LUTRA, has ascertained the potential extent of the expansion of this species.

The results, published in Ethology Ecology and Evolution, are visualised on a map showing the potential distribution of the species in the Catalan Pyrenees. In this way, the marmot could occupy all the alpine and subalpine fields of the Pyrenees. In addition, "it is capable of occupying abandoned fields at altitudes lower than its optimum altitudinal level for distribution," points out the Catalan scientist.

The alpine marmot is the largest rodent mammal in Europe. According to some estimates made in 2000, the population is more than 10,000 specimens. Other studies carried out in CREAF-UAB also suggest that "the presence of the alpine marmot favours the biodiversity of the Pyrenees," the researcher highlights.

The benefits of the marmot

By again becoming an abundant species which is of a medium size, the predators of the Pyrenees have found "prey that is easy to capture." Studies on the remains of golden eagles' (Aquila chrysaetos) nests indicate that this bird eats marmot frequently. The scientists have observed that foxes also capture them.

"Very probably, the adaptive flexibility of marmots, the best climatic conditions on the southern slope of the range, and the lower density of significant predators, explain the rapid expansion of the species," Claramunt points out.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. López, B.C.; Figueroa, I.; Pino, J.; López, A.; Potrony, D. Potential distribution of the alpine marmot in Southern Pyrenees. Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 2009; 21 (3-4): 225-235

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Alpine marmot spreads into Catalan Pyrenees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309102525.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, March 9). Alpine marmot spreads into Catalan Pyrenees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309102525.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Alpine marmot spreads into Catalan Pyrenees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309102525.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins