Publications by authors named "Jonas Kindberg"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Vasculoprotective Properties of Plasma Lipoproteins from Brown Bears (Ursus arctos).

J Lipid Res 2021 Mar 10:100065. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Division of Clinical Chemistry, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Translational Science & Experimental Medicine, Research and Early Development, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism (CVRM), BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address:

Plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels are twice as high in hibernating brown bears (Ursus arctos) than healthy humans. Yet, bears display no signs of early-stage atherosclerosis development when adult. To explore this apparent paradox, we analysed plasma lipoproteins from the same ten bears in winter (hibernation) and in summer using size exclusion chromatography, ultracentrifugation and electrophoresis. LDL cholesterol binding to arterial proteoglycans, and plasma cholesterol efflux capacity were also evaluated. The data collected and analysed from bears were also compared with those from healthy humans. In bears the cholesterol esters, unesterified cholesterol, triglyceride and phospholipid content of VLDL and LDL were higher in winter than in summer. The percentage lipid composition of LDL differed between bears and humans, but did not change seasonally in bears. Bear LDL was larger, richer in triglycerides, showed pre-beta electrophoretic mobility and had 5-10 times lower binding to arterial proteoglycans than human LDL. Finally, plasma cholesterol efflux capacity was higher in bears than in humans, especially the HDL fraction when mediated by ABCA1. These results suggest that in brown bears the absence of early atherogenesis is likely associated with a lower affinity of LDL cholesterol for arterial proteoglycans and an elevated cholesterol efflux capacity of bear plasma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jlr.2021.100065DOI Listing
March 2021

Estimating and forecasting spatial population dynamics of apex predators using transnational genetic monitoring.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 12 16;117(48):30531-30538. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway.

The ongoing recovery of terrestrial large carnivores in North America and Europe is accompanied by intense controversy. On the one hand, reestablishment of large carnivores entails a recovery of their most important ecological role, predation. On the other hand, societies are struggling to relearn how to live with apex predators that kill livestock, compete for game species, and occasionally injure or kill people. Those responsible for managing these species and mitigating conflict often lack fundamental information due to a long-standing challenge in ecology: How do we draw robust population-level inferences for elusive animals spread over immense areas? Here we showcase the application of an effective tool for spatially explicit tracking and forecasting of wildlife population dynamics at scales that are relevant to management and conservation. We analyzed the world's largest dataset on carnivores comprising more than 35,000 noninvasively obtained DNA samples from over 6,000 individual brown bears (), gray wolves (), and wolverines (). Our analyses took into account that not all individuals are detected and, even if detected, their fates are not always known. We show unequivocal quantitative evidence of large carnivore recovery in northern Europe, juxtaposed with the finding that humans are the single-most important factor driving the dynamics of these apex predators. We present maps and forecasts of the spatiotemporal dynamics of large carnivore populations, transcending national boundaries and management regimes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011383117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7720137PMC
December 2020

Wolf habitat selection when sympatric or allopatric with brown bears in Scandinavia.

Sci Rep 2020 06 18;10(1):9941. Epub 2020 Jun 18.

Grimsӧ Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-730 91, Riddarhyttan, Sweden.

Habitat selection of animals depends on factors such as food availability, landscape features, and intra- and interspecific interactions. Individuals can show several behavioral responses to reduce competition for habitat, yet the mechanisms that drive them are poorly understood. This is particularly true for large carnivores, whose fine-scale monitoring is logistically complex and expensive. In Scandinavia, the home-range establishment and kill rates of gray wolves (Canis lupus) are affected by the coexistence with brown bears (Ursus arctos). Here, we applied resource selection functions and a multivariate approach to compare wolf habitat selection within home ranges of wolves that were either sympatric or allopatric with bears. Wolves selected for lower altitudes in winter, particularly in the area where bears and wolves are sympatric, where altitude is generally higher than where they are allopatric. Wolves may follow the winter migration of their staple prey, moose (Alces alces), to lower altitudes. Otherwise, we did not find any effect of bear presence on wolf habitat selection, in contrast with our previous studies. Our new results indicate that the manifestation of a specific driver of habitat selection, namely interspecific competition, can vary at different spatial-temporal scales. This is important to understand the structure of ecological communities and the varying mechanisms underlying interspecific interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66626-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303184PMC
June 2020

Cardiac adaptation in hibernating, free-ranging Scandinavian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos).

Sci Rep 2020 01 14;10(1):247. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Örebro University Hospital, Faculty of Health, Department of Cardiology, Örebro, Sweden.

During six months of annual hibernation, the brown bear undergoes unique physiological changes to adapt to decreased metabolic rate. We compared cardiac structural and functional measures of hibernating and active bears using comprehensive echocardiography. We performed echocardiography on 13 subadult free-ranging, anaesthetised Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) during late hibernation and in early summer. Mean heart rate was 26 beats per minute (standard deviation (SD): 8) during hibernation vs 71 (SD: 14) during active state. All left ventricular (LV) systolic and diastolic measures were decreased during hibernation: mean ejection fraction: 44.2% (SD: 6.0) active state vs 34.0 (SD: 8.1) hibernation, P = 0.001; global longitudinal strain: -11.2% (SD: 2.0) vs -8.8 (SD: 3.3), P = 0.03; global longitudinal strain rate: -0.82 (SD: 0.15) vs -0.41 (SD: 0.18), P < 0.001; septal e': 9.8 cm/s (SD: 1.8) vs 5.2 (SD: 2.7), P < 0.001. In general, measures of total myocardial motion (ejection fraction and global longitudinal strain) were decreased to a lesser extent than measures of myocardial velocities. In the hibernating brown bear, cardiac adaptation included decreased functional measures, primarily measures of myocardial velocities, but was not associated with cardiac atrophy. Understanding the mechanisms of these adaptations could provide pathophysiological insight of human pathological conditions such as heart failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-57126-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959366PMC
January 2020

Large-scale spatial variation of chronic stress signals in moose.

PLoS One 2020 13;15(1):e0225990. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program, Raleigh, NC, United States of America.

The physiological effects of short-term stress responses typically lead to increased individual survival as it prepares the body for fight or flight through catabolic reactions in the body. These physiological effects trade off against growth, immunocompetence, reproduction, and even long-term survival. Chronic stress may thus reduce individual and population performance, with direct implications for the management and conservation of wildlife populations. Yet, relatively little is known about how chronic stress levels vary across wild populations and factors contributing to increased chronic stress levels. One method to measure long-term stress in mammals is to quantify slowly incorporated stress hormone (cortisol) in hair, which most likely reflect a long-term average of the stress responses. In this study, we sampled 237 harvested moose Alces alces across Sweden to determine the relative effect of landscape variables and disturbances on moose hair cortisol levels. We used linear model combinations and Akaike's Information Criterion (corrected for small sample sizes), and included variables related to human disturbance, ungulate competition, large carnivore density, and ambient temperature to estimate the covariates that best explained the variance in stress levels in moose. The most important variables explaining the variation in hair cortisol levels in moose were the long-term average temperature sum in the area moose lived and the distance to occupied wolf territory; higher hair cortisol levels were detected where temperatures were higher and closer to occupied wolf territories, respectively.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225990PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6957135PMC
April 2020

Framing pictures: A conceptual framework to identify and correct for biases in detection probability of camera traps enabling multi-species comparison.

Ecol Evol 2019 Feb 23;9(4):2320-2336. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research Trondheim Norway.

Obtaining reliable species observations is of great importance in animal ecology and wildlife conservation. An increasing number of studies use camera traps (CTs) to study wildlife communities, and an increasing effort is made to make better use and reuse of the large amounts of data that are produced. It is in these circumstances that it becomes paramount to correct for the species- and study-specific variation in imperfect detection within CTs. We reviewed the literature and used our own experience to compile a list of factors that affect CT detection of animals. We did this within a conceptual framework of six distinct scales separating out the influences of (a) animal characteristics, (b) CT specifications, (c) CT set-up protocols, and (d) environmental variables. We identified 40 factors that can potentially influence the detection of animals by CTs at these six scales. Many of these factors were related to only a few overarching parameters. Most of the animal characteristics scale with body mass and diet type, and most environmental characteristics differ with season or latitude such that remote sensing products like NDVI could be used as a proxy index to capture this variation. Factors that influence detection at the microsite and camera scales are probably the most important in determining CT detection of animals. The type of study and specific research question will determine which factors should be corrected. Corrections can be done by directly adjusting the CT metric of interest or by using covariates in a statistical framework. Our conceptual framework can be used to design better CT studies and help when analyzing CT data. Furthermore, it provides an overview of which factors should be reported in CT studies to make them repeatable, comparable, and their data reusable. This should greatly improve the possibilities for global scale analyses of (reused) CT data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4878DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6392353PMC
February 2019

Habitat segregation between brown bears and gray wolves in a human-dominated landscape.

Ecol Evol 2018 Dec 11;8(23):11450-11466. Epub 2018 Nov 11.

Grimsӧ Wildlife Research Station Department of Ecology Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Riddarhyttan Sweden.

Identifying how sympatric species belonging to the same guild coexist is a major question of community ecology and conservation. Habitat segregation between two species might help reduce the effects of interspecific competition and apex predators are of special interest in this context, because their interactions can have consequences for lower trophic levels. However, habitat segregation between sympatric large carnivores has seldom been studied. Based on monitoring of 53 brown bears () and seven sympatric adult gray wolves () equipped with GPS collars in Sweden, we analyzed the degree of interspecific segregation in habitat selection within their home ranges in both late winter and spring, when their diets overlap the most. We used the K-select method, a multivariate approach that relies on the concept of ecological niche, and randomization methods to quantify habitat segregation between bears and wolves. Habitat segregation between bears and wolves was greater than expected by chance. Wolves tended to select for moose occurrence, young forests, and rugged terrain more than bears, which likely reflects the different requirements of an omnivore (bear) and an obligate carnivore (wolf). However, both species generally avoided human-related habitats during daytime. Disentangling the mechanisms that can drive interspecific interactions at different spatial scales is essential for understanding how sympatric large carnivores occur and coexist in human-dominated landscapes, and how coexistence may affect lower trophic levels. The individual variation in habitat selection detected in our study may be a relevant mechanism to overcome intraguild competition and facilitate coexistence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4572DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303696PMC
December 2018

The importance of wildlife in the ecology and epidemiology of the TBE virus in Sweden: incidence of human TBE correlates with abundance of deer and hares.

Parasit Vectors 2018 Aug 29;11(1):477. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Gothenburg, Sweden.

Background: Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one tick-transmitted disease where the human incidence has increased in some European regions during the last two decades. We aim to find the most important factors causing the increasing incidence of human TBE in Sweden. Based on a review of published data we presume that certain temperature-related variables and the population densities of transmission hosts, i.e. small mammals, and of primary tick maintenance hosts, i.e. cervids and lagomorphs, of the TBE virus vector Ixodes ricinus, are among the potentially most important factors affecting the TBE incidence. Therefore, we compare hunting data of the major tick maintenance hosts and two of their important predators, and four climatic variables with the annual numbers of human cases of neuroinvasive TBE. Data for six Swedish regions where human TBE incidence is high or has recently increased are examined by a time-series analysis. Results from the six regions are combined using a meta-analytical method.

Results: With a one-year time lag, the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), mountain hare (Lepus timidus) and European hare (Lepus europaeus) showed positive covariance; the Eurasian elk (moose, Alces alces) and fallow deer (Dama dama) negative covariance; whereas the wild boar (Sus scrofa), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the four climate parameters showed no significant covariance with TBE incidence. All game species combined showed positive covariance.

Conclusions: The epidemiology of TBE varies with time and geography and depends on numerous factors, i.a. climate, virus genotypes, and densities of vectors, tick maintenance hosts and transmission hosts. This study suggests that the increased availability of deer to I. ricinus over large areas of potential tick habitats in southern Sweden increased the density and range of I. ricinus and created new TBEV foci, which resulted in increased incidence of human TBE. New foci may be established by TBE virus-infected birds, or by birds or migrating mammals infested with TBEV-infected ticks. Generally, persistence of TBE virus foci appears to require presence of transmission-competent small mammals, especially mice (Apodemus spp.) or bank voles (Myodes glareolus).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-3057-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6114827PMC
August 2018

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) attacks resulting in human casualties in Scandinavia 1977-2016; management implications and recommendations.

PLoS One 2018 23;13(5):e0196876. Epub 2018 May 23.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway.

Human persecution and habitat loss have endangered large carnivore populations worldwide, but some are recovering, exacerbating old conflicts. Carnivores can injure and kill people; the most dramatic form of wildlife-human conflict. In Scandinavia, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) population increased from ~500 bears in 1977 to ~3300 in 2008, with an increase in injuries, fatalities, and public fear of bear attacks. We reviewed media coverage and interviewed victims to explore how bear population trends, hunter education, and other factors may have influenced the number of injuries and fatalities in Scandinavia from 1977 to 2016. We found 42 incidents with 42 injuries and 2 fatalities; 42 were adult men, one was an adult woman conducting forestry work, and one was a boy skiing off-piste. Thirty-three adult men were hunting bears, moose, or small game, often with a hunting dog, and 26 had shot at the bear at 8±11 m before injury. Eleven nonhunters were conducting forestry work, inspecting a hunting area, picking berries, tending livestock, hiking, harassing a denned bear, and one person was killed outside his house at night. Eight of the 11 incidents of nonhunters involved female bears with cubs; three of these family groups were in dens and two were on carcasses. The annual number of hunters injured/killed was mostly influenced by the increase in the bear population size. The pattern was similar regarding injuries/fatalities to other outdoor users, but the relation with the bear population size was weaker than for hunters, and the null model was equally supported. Bear physiology at denning may make encounters with bears more risky in the fall, when bears show prehibernation behavior. Awareness and education efforts, especially among hunters, seem important to ensure human safety. Recreationists and forestry workers should avoid dense vegetation or make noise to warn bears of their presence.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196876PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5965840PMC
August 2018

Sociodemographic factors modulate the spatial response of brown bears to vacancies created by hunting.

J Anim Ecol 2018 Jan 13;87(1):247-258. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences, and Maritime Sciences, University College of Southeast Norway, Telemark, Norway.

There is a growing recognition of the importance of indirect effects from hunting on wildlife populations, e.g. social and behavioural changes due to harvest, which occur after the initial offtake. Nonetheless, little is known about how the removal of members of a population influences the spatial configuration of the survivors. We studied how surviving brown bears (Ursus arctos) used former home ranges that had belonged to casualties of the annual bear hunting season in southcentral Sweden (2007-2015). We used resource selection functions to explore the effects of the casualty's and survivor's sex, age and their pairwise genetic relatedness, population density and hunting intensity on survivors' spatial responses to vacated home ranges. We tested the competitive release hypothesis, whereby survivors that increase their use of a killed bear's home range are presumed to have been released from intraspecific competition. We found strong support for this hypothesis, as survivors of the same sex as the casualty consistently increased their use of its vacant home range. Patterns were less pronounced or absent when the survivor and casualty were of opposite sex. Genetic relatedness between the survivor and the casualty emerged as the most important factor explaining increased use of vacated male home ranges by males, with a stronger response from survivors of lower relatedness. Relatedness was also important for females, but it did not influence use following removal; female survivors used home ranges of higher related female casualties more, both before and after death. Spatial responses by survivors were further influenced by bear age, population density and hunting intensity. We have shown that survivors exhibit a spatial response to vacated home ranges caused by hunting casualties, even in nonterritorial species such as the brown bear. This spatial reorganization can have unintended consequences for population dynamics and interfere with management goals. Altogether, our results underscore the need to better understand the short- and long-term indirect effects of hunting on animal social structure and their resulting distribution in space.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12767DOI Listing
January 2018

Competition between apex predators? Brown bears decrease wolf kill rate on two continents.

Proc Biol Sci 2017 02;284(1848)

Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 730 91 Riddarhyttan, Sweden.

Trophic interactions are a fundamental topic in ecology, but we know little about how competition between apex predators affects predation, the mechanism driving top-down forcing in ecosystems. We used long-term datasets from Scandinavia (Europe) and Yellowstone National Park (North America) to evaluate how grey wolf () kill rate was affected by a sympatric apex predator, the brown bear (). We used kill interval (i.e. the number of days between consecutive ungulate kills) as a proxy of kill rate. Although brown bears can monopolize wolf kills, we found no support in either study system for the common assumption that they cause wolves to kill more often. On the contrary, our results showed the opposite effect. In Scandinavia, wolf packs sympatric with brown bears killed less often than allopatric packs during both spring (after bear den emergence) and summer. Similarly, the presence of bears at wolf-killed ungulates was associated with wolves killing less often during summer in Yellowstone. The consistency in results between the two systems suggests that brown bear presence actually reduces wolf kill rate. Our results suggest that the influence of predation on lower trophic levels may depend on the composition of predator communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5310606PMC
February 2017

Sarcoptic mange in the Scandinavian wolf Canis lupus population.

BMC Vet Res 2016 Jul 27;12(1):156. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Faculty of Applied Ecology and Agricultural Sciences, Hedmark University College, Campus Evenstad, N-2480, Koppang, Norway.

Background: Sarcoptic mange, a parasitic disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is regularly reported on wolves Canis lupus in Scandinavia. We describe the distribution and transmission of this parasite within the small but recovering wolf population by analysing 269 necropsy reports and performing a serological survey on 198 serum samples collected from free-ranging wolves between 1998 and 2013.

Results: The serological survey among 145 individual captured Scandinavian wolves (53 recaptures) shows a consistent presence of antibodies against sarcoptic mange. Seropositivity among all captured wolves was 10.1 % (CI. 6.4 %-15.1 %). Sarcoptic mange-related mortality reported at necropsy was 5.6 % and due to secondary causes, predominantly starvation. In the southern range of the population, seroprevalence was higher, consistent with higher red fox densities. Female wolves had a lower probability of being seropositive than males, but for both sexes the probability increased with pack size. Recaptured individuals changing from seropositive to seronegative suggest recovery from sarcoptic mange. The lack of seropositive pups (8-10 months, N = 56) and the occurrence of seropositive and seronegative individuals in the same pack indicates interspecific transmission of S. scabiei into this wolf population.

Conclusions: We consider sarcoptic mange to have little effect on the recovery of the Scandinavian wolf population. Heterogenic infection patterns on the pack level in combination with the importance of individual-based factors (sex, pack size) and the north-south gradient for seroprevalence suggests low probability of wolf-to-wolf transmission of S. scabiei in Scandinavia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-016-0780-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962404PMC
July 2016

Bears and berries: species-specific selective foraging on a patchily distributed food resource in a human-altered landscape.

Behav Ecol Sociobiol 2016;70:831-842. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1430 Ås, Norway ; Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7485 Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract: When animals are faced with extraordinary energy-consuming events, like hibernation, finding abundant, energy-rich food resources becomes particularly important. The profitability of food resources can vary spatially, depending on occurrence, quality, and local abundance. Here, we used the brown bear () as a model species to quantify selective foraging on berries in different habitats during hyperphagia in autumn prior to hibernation. During the peak berry season in August and September, we sampled berry occurrence, abundance, and sugar content, a proxy for quality, at locations selected by bears for foraging and at random locations in the landscape. The factors determining selection of berries were species specific across the different habitats. Compared to random locations, bears selected locations with a higher probability of occurrence and higher abundance of bilberries () and a higher probability of occurrence, but not abundance, of lingonberries (). Crowberries () were least available and least used. Sugar content affected the selection of lingonberries, but not of bilberries. Abundance of bilberries at random locations decreased and abundance of lingonberries increased during fall, but bears did not adjust their foraging strategy by increasing selection for lingonberries. Forestry practices had a large effect on berry occurrence and abundance, and brown bears responded by foraging most selectively in mature forests and on clearcuts. This study shows that bears are successful in navigating human-shaped forest landscapes by using areas of higher than average berry abundance in a period when abundant food intake is particularly important to increase body mass prior to hibernation.

Significance Statement: Food resources heterogeneity, caused by spatial and temporal variation of specific foods, poses a challenge to foragers, particularly when faced with extraordinary energy-demanding events, like hibernation. Brown bears in Sweden inhabit a landscape shaped by forestry practices. Bilberries and lingonberries, the bears' main food resources in autumn prior to hibernation, show different temporal and habitat-specific ripening patterns. We quantified the bears' selective foraging on these berry species on clearcuts, bogs, young, and mature forests compared to random locations. Despite a temporal decline of ripe bilberries, bears used locations with a greater occurrence and abundance of bilberries, but not lingonberries. We conclude that bears successfully navigated in this heavily human-shaped landscape by selectively foraging in high-return habitats for bilberries, but did not compensate for the decline in bilberries by eating more lingonberries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-016-2106-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4859851PMC
March 2016

Phantoms of the forest: legacy risk effects of a regionally extinct large carnivore.

Ecol Evol 2016 02 15;6(3):791-9. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Skogsmarksgränd SE-901 83 Umeå Sweden; Department of Zoology Centre for African Conservation Ecology Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University PO Box 77000 Port Elizabeth 6031 South Africa.

The increased abundance of large carnivores in Europe is a conservation success, but the impact on the behavior and population dynamics of prey species is generally unknown. In Europe, the recolonization of large carnivores often occurs in areas where humans have greatly modified the landscape through forestry or agriculture. Currently, we poorly understand the effects of recolonizing large carnivores on extant prey species in anthropogenic landscapes. Here, we investigated if ungulate prey species showed innate responses to the scent of a regionally exterminated but native large carnivore, and whether the responses were affected by human-induced habitat openness. We experimentally introduced brown bear Ursus arctos scent to artificial feeding sites and used camera traps to document the responses of three sympatric ungulate species. In addition to controls without scent, reindeer scent Rangifer tarandus was used as a noncarnivore, novel control scent. Fallow deer Dama dama strongly avoided areas with bear scent. In the presence of bear scent, all ungulate species generally used open sites more than closed sites, whereas the opposite was observed at sites with reindeer scent or without scent. The opening of forest habitat by human practices, such as forestry and agriculture, creates a larger gradient in habitat openness than available in relatively unaffected closed forest systems, which may create opportunities for prey to alter their habitat selection and reduce predation risk in human-modified systems that do not exist in more natural forest systems. Increased knowledge about antipredator responses in areas subjected to anthropogenic change is important because these responses may affect prey population dynamics, lower trophic levels, and attitudes toward large carnivores. These aspects may be of particular relevance in the light of the increasing wildlife populations across much of Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4739569PMC
February 2016

The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos.

Cell Rep 2016 Feb 4;14(7):1655-1661. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

The Wallenberg Laboratory, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, University of Gothenburg, 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section for Metabolic Receptology and Enteroendocrinology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:

Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes. Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.026DOI Listing
February 2016

Quantifying consistent individual differences in habitat selection.

Oecologia 2016 Mar 23;180(3):697-705. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

Département de Biologie, Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Demography and Conservation and Centre for Northern Studies, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, J1K2R1, Canada.

Habitat selection is a fundamental behaviour that links individuals to the resources required for survival and reproduction. Although natural selection acts on an individual's phenotype, research on habitat selection often pools inter-individual patterns to provide inferences on the population scale. Here, we expanded a traditional approach of quantifying habitat selection at the individual level to explore the potential for consistent individual differences of habitat selection. We used random coefficients in resource selection functions (RSFs) and repeatability estimates to test for variability in habitat selection. We applied our method to a detailed dataset of GPS relocations of brown bears (Ursus arctos) taken over a period of 6 years, and assessed whether they displayed repeatable individual differences in habitat selection toward two habitat types: bogs and recent timber-harvest cut blocks. In our analyses, we controlled for the availability of habitat, i.e. the functional response in habitat selection. Repeatability estimates of habitat selection toward bogs and cut blocks were 0.304 and 0.420, respectively. Therefore, 30.4 and 42.0 % of the population-scale habitat selection variability for bogs and cut blocks, respectively, was due to differences among individuals, suggesting that consistent individual variation in habitat selection exists in brown bears. Using simulations, we posit that repeatability values of habitat selection are not related to the value and significance of β estimates in RSFs. Although individual differences in habitat selection could be the results of non-exclusive factors, our results illustrate the evolutionary potential of habitat selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3500-6DOI Listing
March 2016

Physiological evidence for a human-induced landscape of fear in brown bears (Ursus arctos).

Physiol Behav 2015 Dec 22;152(Pt A):244-8. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden; Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Hedmark University College, Campus Evenstad, NO-2418 Elverum, Norway. Electronic address:

Human persecution is a major cause of mortality for large carnivores. Consequently, large carnivores avoid humans, but may use human-dominated landscapes by being nocturnal and elusive. Behavioral studies indicate that certain ecological systems are "landscapes of fear", driven by antipredator behavior. Because behavior and physiology are closely interrelated, physiological assessments may provide insight into the behavioral response of large carnivores to human activity. To elucidate changes in brown bears' (Ursus arctos) behavior associated with human activity, we evaluated stress as changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in 12 GPS-collared, free-ranging bears, 7 males and 5 females, 3-11 years old, using cardiac-monitoring devices. We applied generalized linear regression models with HR and HRV as response variables and chest activity, time of day, season, distance traveled, and distance to human settlements from GPS positions recorded every 30 min as potential explanatory variables. Bears exhibited lower HRV, an indication of stress, when they were close to human settlements and especially during the berry season, when humans were more often in the forest, picking berries and hunting. Our findings provide evidence of a human-induced landscape of fear in this hunted population of brown bears.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.09.030DOI Listing
December 2015

A "clearcut" case? Brown bear selection of coarse woody debris and carpenter ants on clearcuts.

For Ecol Manage 2015 Jul;348:164-173

Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Environmental and Health Studies, Telemark University College, Bø NO-3800, Norway.

Forest management alters habitat characteristics, resulting in various effects among and within species. It is crucial to understand how habitat alteration through forest management (e.g. clearcutting) affects animal populations, particularly with unknown future conditions (e.g. climate change). In Sweden, brown bears () forage on carpenter ants () during summer, and may select for this food source within clearcuts. To assess carpenter ant occurrence and brown bear selection of carpenter ants, we sampled 6999 coarse woody debris (CWD) items within 1019 plots, of which 902 were within clearcuts (forests ⩽30 years of age) and 117 plots outside clearcuts (forests >30 years of age). We related various CWD and site characteristics to the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries (nests) and bear foraging sign at three spatial scales: the CWD, plot, and clearcut scale. We tested whether both absolute and relative counts (the latter controlling for the number of CWD items) of galleries and bear sign in plots were higher inside or outside clearcuts. Absolute counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for galleries (mean counts; inside: 1.8, outside: 0.8). CWD was also higher inside (mean: 6.8) than outside clearcuts (mean: 4.0). However, even after controlling for more CWD inside clearcuts, relative counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for both galleries (mean counts; inside: 0.3, outside: 0.2) and bear sign (mean counts; inside: 0.03, outside: 0.01). Variables at the CWD scale best explained gallery and bear sign presence than variables at the plot or clearcut level, but bear selection was influenced by clearcut age. CWD circumference was important for both carpenter ant and bear sign presence. CWD hardness was most important for carpenter ant selection. However, the most important predictor for bear sign was the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries. Bears had a high foraging "success" rate (⩾88%) in foraging CWD where galleries also occurred, which was assessed by summing CWD items with the concurrence of bear sign and galleries, divided by the sum of all CWD with bear sign. Clearcuts appeared to increase the occurrence of a relatively important summer food item, the carpenter ant, on Swedish managed forests for the brown bear. However, the potential benefit of this increase can only be determined from a better understanding of the seasonal and interannual variation of the availability and use of other important brown bear food items, berries (e.g. and spp.), as well as other primary needs for bears (e.g. secure habitat and denning habitat), within the landscape mosaic of managed forests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.03.051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4459689PMC
July 2015

[Biomimetics--imitating nature to prevent disease].

Lakartidningen 2015 Mar 17;112. Epub 2015 Mar 17.

Kardiologiska kliniken - Institutionen för hälsovetenskap och medicin Örebro, Sweden Kardiologiska kliniken - Institutionen för hälsovetenskap och medicin Örebro, Sweden.

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March 2015

A boreal invasion in response to climate change? Range shifts and community effects in the borderland between forest and tundra.

Ambio 2015 Jan;44 Suppl 1:S39-50

Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden,

It has been hypothesized that climate warming will allow southern species to advance north and invade northern ecosystems. We review the changes in the Swedish mammal and bird community in boreal forest and alpine tundra since the nineteenth century, as well as suggested drivers of change. Observed changes include (1) range expansion and increased abundance in southern birds, ungulates, and carnivores; (2) range contraction and decline in northern birds and carnivores; and (3) abundance decline or periodically disrupted dynamics in cyclic populations of small and medium-sized mammals and birds. The first warm spell, 1930-1960, stands out as a period of substantial faunal change. However, in addition to climate warming, suggested drivers of change include land use and other anthropogenic factors. We hypothesize all these drivers interacted, primarily favoring southern generalists. Future research should aim to distinguish between effects of climate and land-use change in boreal and tundra ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-014-0606-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289007PMC
January 2015

Wild boar populations up, numbers of hunters down? A review of trends and implications for Europe.

Pest Manag Sci 2015 Apr 29;71(4):492-500. Epub 2015 Jan 29.

National Wildlife Management Centre, Animal and Plant Health Agency, York, UK.

Across Europe, wild boar numbers increased in the 1960s-1970s but stabilised in the 1980s; recent evidence suggests that the numbers and impact of wild boar has grown steadily since the 1980s. As hunting is the main cause of mortality for this species, we reviewed wild boar hunting bags and hunter population trends in 18 European countries from 1982 to 2012. Hunting statistics and numbers of hunters were used as indicators of animal numbers and hunting pressure. The results confirmed that wild boar increased consistently throughout Europe, while the number of hunters remained relatively stable or declined in most countries. We conclude that recreational hunting is insufficient to limit wild boar population growth and that the relative impact of hunting on wild boar mortality had decreased. Other factors, such as mild winters, reforestation, intensification of crop production, supplementary feeding and compensatory population responses of wild boar to hunting pressure might also explain population growth. As populations continue to grow, more human-wild boar conflicts are expected unless this trend is reversed. New interdisciplinary approaches are urgently required to mitigate human-wild boar conflicts, which are otherwise destined to grow further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ps.3965DOI Listing
April 2015

No evidence for the effect of MHC on male mating success in the brown bear.

PLoS One 2014 3;9(12):e113414. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, ul. Gronostajowa 7, 30-387, Kraków, Poland.

Mate choice is thought to contribute to the maintenance of the spectacularly high polymorphism of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes, along with balancing selection from parasites, but the relative contribution of the former mechanism is debated. Here, we investigated the association between male MHC genotype and mating success in the brown bear. We analysed fragments of sequences coding for the peptide-binding region of the highly polymorphic MHC class I and class II DRB genes, while controlling for genome-wide effects using a panel of 18 microsatellite markers. Male mating success did not depend on the number of alleles shared with the female or amino-acid distance between potential mates at either locus. Furthermore, we found no indication of female mating preferences for MHC similarity being contingent on the number of alleles the females carried. Finally, we found no significant association between the number of MHC alleles a male carried and his mating success. Thus, our results provided no support for the role of mate choice in shaping MHC polymorphism in the brown bear.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113414PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4254848PMC
July 2015

Does despotic behavior or food search explain the occurrence of problem brown bears in Europe?

J Wildl Manage 2014 Jul 24;78(5):881-893. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences Postbox 5003, NO-1432, Ås, Norway ; Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NO-7485, Trondheim, Norway.

Bears foraging near human developments are often presumed to be responding to food shortage, but this explanation ignores social factors, in particular despotism in bears. We analyzed the age distribution and body condition index (BCI) of shot brown bears in relation to densities of bears and people, and whether the shot bears were killed by managers (i.e., problem bears;  = 149), in self-defense ( = 51), or were hunter-killed nonproblem bears ( = 1,896) during 1990-2010. We compared patterns between areas with (Slovenia) and without supplemental feeding (Sweden) of bears relative to 2 hypotheses. The food-search/food-competition hypothesis predicts that problem bears should have a higher BCI (e.g., exploiting easily accessible and/or nutritious human-derived foods) or lower BCI (e.g., because of food shortage) than nonproblem bears, that BCI and human density should have a positive correlation, and problem bear occurrence and seasonal mean BCI of nonproblem bears should have a negative correlation (i.e., more problem bears during years of low food availability). Food competition among bears additionally predicts an inverse relationship between BCI and bear density. The safety-search/naivety hypothesis (i.e., avoiding other bears or lack of human experience) predicts no relationship between BCI and human density, provided no dietary differences due to spatiotemporal habitat use among bears, no relationship between problem bear occurrence and seasonal mean BCI of nonproblem bears, and does not necessarily predict a difference between BCI for problem/nonproblem bears. If food competition or predation avoidance explained bear occurrence near settlements, we predicted younger problem than nonproblem bears and a negative correlation between age and human density. However, if only food search explained bear occurrence near settlements, we predicted no relation between age and problem or nonproblem bear status, or between age and human density. We found no difference in BCI or its variability between problem and nonproblem bears, no relation between BCI and human density, and no correlation between numbers of problem bears shot and seasonal mean BCI for either country. The peak of shot problem bears occurred from April to June in Slovenia and in June in Sweden (i.e., during the mating period when most intraspecific predation occurs and before fall hyperphagia). Problem bears were younger than nonproblem bears, and both problem and nonproblem bears were younger in areas of higher human density. These age differences, in combination with similarities in BCI between problem and nonproblem bears and lack of correlation between BCI and human density, suggested safety-search and naïve dispersal to be the primary mechanisms responsible for bear occurrence near settlements. Younger bears are less competitive, more vulnerable to intraspecific predation, and lack human experience, compared to adults. Body condition was inversely related to the bear density index in Sweden, whereas we found no correlation in Slovenia, suggesting that supplemental feeding may have reduced food competition, in combination with high bear harvest rates. Bears shot in self-defense were older and their BCI did not differ from that of nonproblem bears. Reasons other than food shortage apparently explained why most bears were involved in encounters with people or viewed as problematic near settlements in our study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.727DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140552PMC
July 2014

Hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide metabolites in the blood of free-ranging brown bears and their potential roles in hibernation.

Free Radic Biol Med 2014 Aug 5;73:349-57. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. Electronic address:

During winter hibernation, brown bears (Ursus arctos) lie in dens for half a year without eating while their basal metabolism is largely suppressed. To understand the underlying mechanisms of metabolic depression in hibernation, we measured type and content of blood metabolites of two ubiquitous inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and nitric oxide (NO), in winter-hibernating and summer-active free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears. We found that levels of sulfide metabolites were overall similar in summer-active and hibernating bears but their composition in the plasma differed significantly, with a decrease in bound sulfane sulfur in hibernation. High levels of unbound free sulfide correlated with high levels of cysteine (Cys) and with low levels of bound sulfane sulfur, indicating that during hibernation H2S, in addition to being formed enzymatically from the substrate Cys, may also be regenerated from its oxidation products, including thiosulfate and polysulfides. In the absence of any dietary intake, this shift in the mode of H2S synthesis would help preserve free Cys for synthesis of glutathione (GSH), a major antioxidant found at high levels in the red blood cells of hibernating bears. In contrast, circulating nitrite and erythrocytic S-nitrosation of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, taken as markers of NO metabolism, did not change appreciably. Our findings reveal that remodeling of H2S metabolism and enhanced intracellular GSH levels are hallmarks of the aerobic metabolic suppression of hibernating bears.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.05.025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413933PMC
August 2014

Male reproductive strategy explains spatiotemporal segregation in brown bears.

J Anim Ecol 2013 Jul 5;82(4):836-45. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, A-1180, Austria; Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, NO-1432, Norway.

Spatiotemporal segregation is often explained by the risk for offspring predation or by differences in physiology, predation risk vulnerability or competitive abilities related to size dimorphism. Most large carnivores are size dimorphic and offspring predation is often intraspecific and related to nonparental infanticide (NPI). NPI can be a foraging strategy, a strategy to reduce competition, or a male reproductive strategy. Spatiotemporal segregation is widespread among large carnivores, but its nature remains poorly understood. We evaluated three hypotheses to explain spatiotemporal segregation in the brown bear, a size-dimorphic large carnivore in which NPI is common; the 'NPI - foraging/competition hypothesis', i.e. NPI as a foraging strategy or a strategy to reduce competition, the 'NPI - sexual selection hypothesis', i.e. infanticide as a male reproductive strategy and the 'body size hypothesis', i.e. body-size-related differences in physiology, predation risk vulnerability or competitive ability causes spatiotemporal segregation. To test these hypotheses, we quantified spatiotemporal segregation among adult males, lone adult females and females with cubs-of-the-year, based on GPS-relocation data (2006-2010) and resource selection functions in a Scandinavian population. We found that spatiotemporal segregation was strongest between females with cubs-of-the-year and adult males during the mating season. During the mating season, females with cubs-of-the-year selected their resources, in contrast to adult males, in less rugged landscapes in relative close proximity to certain human-related variables, and in more open habitat types. After the mating season, females with cubs-of-the-year markedly shifted their resource selection towards a pattern more similar to that of their conspecifics. No strong spatiotemporal segregation was apparent between females with cubs-of-the-year and conspecifics during the mating and the postmating season. The 'NPI - sexual selection hypothesis' best explained spatiotemporal segregation in our study system. We suggest that females with cubs-of-the-year alter their resource selection to avoid infanticidal males. In species exhibiting NPI as a male reproductive strategy, female avoidance of infanticidal males is probably more common than observed or reported, and may come with a fitness cost if females trade safety for optimal resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3757318PMC
July 2013

Evolution of major histocompatibility complex class I and class II genes in the brown bear.

BMC Evol Biol 2012 Oct 2;12:197. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.

Background: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins constitute an essential component of the vertebrate immune response, and are coded by the most polymorphic of the vertebrate genes. Here, we investigated sequence variation and evolution of MHC class I and class II DRB, DQA and DQB genes in the brown bear Ursus arctos to characterise the level of polymorphism, estimate the strength of positive selection acting on them, and assess the extent of gene orthology and trans-species polymorphism in Ursidae.

Results: We found 37 MHC class I, 16 MHC class II DRB, four DQB and two DQA alleles. We confirmed the expression of several loci: three MHC class I, two DRB, two DQB and one DQA. MHC class I also contained two clusters of non-expressed sequences. MHC class I and DRB allele frequencies differed between northern and southern populations of the Scandinavian brown bear. The rate of nonsynonymous substitutions (dN) exceeded the rate of synonymous substitutions (dS) at putative antigen binding sites of DRB and DQB loci and, marginally significantly, at MHC class I loci. Models of codon evolution supported positive selection at DRB and MHC class I loci. Both MHC class I and MHC class II sequences showed orthology to gene clusters found in the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca.

Conclusions: Historical positive selection has acted on MHC class I, class II DRB and DQB, but not on the DQA locus. The signal of historical positive selection on the DRB locus was particularly strong, which may be a general feature of caniforms. The presence of MHC class I pseudogenes may indicate faster gene turnover in this class through the birth-and-death process. South-north population structure at MHC loci probably reflects origin of the populations from separate glacial refugia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-12-197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3508869PMC
October 2012

Predicting the potential demographic impact of predators on their prey: a comparative analysis of two carnivore-ungulate systems in Scandinavia.

J Anim Ecol 2012 Mar 11;81(2):443-54. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, PO Box 5685, Sluppen, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway.

1. Understanding the role of predation in shaping the dynamics of animal communities is a fundamental issue in ecological research. Nevertheless, the complex nature of predator-prey interactions often prevents researchers from modelling them explicitly. 2. By using periodic Leslie-Usher matrices and a simulation approach together with parameters obtained from long-term field projects, we reconstructed the underlying mechanisms of predator-prey demographic interactions and compared the dynamics of the roe deer-red fox-Eurasian lynx-human harvest system with those of the moose-brown bear-gray wolf-human harvest system in the boreal forest ecosystem of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula. 3. The functional relationship of both roe deer and moose λ to changes in predation rates from the four predators was remarkably different. Lynx had the strongest impact among the four predators, whereas predation rates by wolves, red foxes, or brown bears generated minor variations in prey population λ. Elasticity values of lynx, wolf, fox and bear predation rates were -0·157, -0·056, -0·031 and -0·006, respectively, but varied with both predator and prey densities. 4. Differences in predation impact were only partially related to differences in kill or predation rates, but were rather a result of different distribution of predation events among prey age classes. Therefore, the age composition of killed individuals emerged as the main underlying factor determining the overall per capita impact of predation. 5. Our results confirm the complex nature of predator-prey interactions in large terrestrial mammals, by showing that different carnivores preying on the same prey species can exert a dramatically different demographic impact, even in the same ecological context, as a direct consequence of their predation patterns. Similar applications of this analytical framework in other geographical and ecological contexts are needed, but a more general evaluation of the subject is also required, aimed to assess, on a broader systematic and ecological range, what specific traits of a carnivore are most related to its potential impact on prey species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01928.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3440569PMC
March 2012

Forecasting risk of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE): using data from wildlife and climate to predict next year's number of human victims.

Scand J Infect Dis 2011 May 24;43(5):366-72. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Division of Laboratory Medicine, County Hospital Ryhov, Jönköping, Sweden.

Background: Over the past quarter century, the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has increased in most European nations. However, the number of humans stricken by the disease varies from year to year. A method for predicting major increases and decreases is needed.

Methods: We assembled a 25-y database (1984-2008) of the number of human TBE victims and wildlife and climate data for the Stockholm region of Sweden, and used it to create easy-to-use mathematical models that predict increases and decreases in the number of humans stricken by TBE.

Results: Our best model, which uses December precipitation and mink (Neovison vison, formerly Mustela vison) bagging figures, successfully predicted every major increase or decrease in TBE during the past quarter century, with a minimum of false alarms. However, this model was not efficient in predicting small increases and decreases.

Conclusions: Predictions from our models can be used to determine when preventive and adaptive programmes should be implemented. For example, in years when the frequency of TBE in humans is predicted to be high, vector control could be intensified where infested ticks have a higher probability of encountering humans, such as at playgrounds, bathing lakes, barbecue areas and camping facilities. Because our models use only wildlife and climate data, they can be used even when the human population is vaccinated. Another advantage is that because our models employ data from previously-established databases, no additional funding for surveillance is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/00365548.2011.552072DOI Listing
May 2011