The Worm Gets the Bird

Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2149h
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2149h

Population cycles are a major theme in ecology, but definitive identification of their causes remains problematic. Now Hudson et al. (p. 2256) describe the interaction behind one celebrated cycle, namely, the regular crashes in numbers of red grouse in the north of England. Experimental reduction in the burden of a nematode worm in the birds can repeatedly prevent the decline in numbers, demonstrating that a single trophic interaction can induce regular fluctuations.

Navigate This Article