Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Ecology

Volume

89

Publisher

Ecological Society of America

Publication Date

2008

First Page

2594

Last Page

2603

Abstract

Using long-term data on two kangaroo rats in the Chihuahuan Desert of North America, we fitted logistic models including the exogenous effects of seasonal rainfall patterns. Our aim was to test the effects of intraspecific interactions and seasonal rainfall in explaining and predicting the numerical fluctuations of these two kangaroo rats. We found that logistic models fit both data sets quite well; Dipodomys merriami showed lower maximum per capita growth rates than Dipodomys ordii, and in both cases logistic models were nonlinear. Summer rainfall appears to be the most important exogenous effect for both rodent populations; models including this variable were able to predict independent data better than models including winter rainfall. D. merriami was also negatively affected by another kangaroo rat (Dipodomys spectabilis), consistent with previous experimental evidence. We hypothesized that summer rainfall influences the carrying capacity of the environment by affecting seed availability and the intensity of intraspecific competition.

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