Vole Stranglers and Lemming Cycles

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Science  31 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5646, pp. 797-798
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092366

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Some small mammal populations undergo cyclic fluctuations in their numbers, whereas others do not. In their Perspective, Hudson and Bjørnstad discuss new work on the cyclic dynamics of the collared lemming in northeastern Greenland ( Gilg et al.). As the Perspective authors explain, population fluctuations of the collared lemming are directly affected by the tension between the lemmings' specialist predator, the stoat, and three generalist predators (the snowy owl, the arctic fox, and the long-tailed skua).