Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources

Hohhot, China

Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources

Hohhot, China
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Yuan S.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Yuan S.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | Fu H.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Fu H.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | And 6 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2017

Livestock grazing is one of the primary causes of disturbances to grassland ecosystems. Ecosystems pay dramatic ecological costs in terms of their composition, structure, and function because of overgrazing. These costs included decreases in plant biomass, reductions in species richness and the number of high quality forage species, and increases in the numbers of toxic species and the percentage of bare ground, as well as changes to the physical and chemical properties of their soil. Livestock grazing has an effect not only on plants and soil, but also on small mammals. Many studies have suggested that grazing affects rodents in terms of their individual conditions, breeding, population dynamics, community structure, and species diversity. These effects could be further complicated by a background of climate change. However, because of the limits of traditional statistical methods, most studies only test individual hypotheses for grazing impacts on rodents, and sofew studies test multi-hypothesis frameworks. A study was conducted from 2006 to 2011 on sites experiencing grazing exclusion, rotational-grazing, and over-grazing to investigate the effects of grazing on the population densities of dominant rodent species in Alashan, Inner Mongolia, China. Rodent species were identified and monitored Phodopusro borovskii, Cricetulus barabensis, Allocricetulus eversmanni, Meriones meridianus, Munguiculatus, and Spermophilusalaschanicus. D. sagitta, A. sibirica, and M. meridianus were found to be dominant in their local rodent communities. In addition, climate data and soil compaction, as well as the coverage, height, density, and biomass of vegetation were measured in the study areas. In this study, data on dominant rodent species population densities were combined with habitat factors to perform a multi-hypothesis test using structural equation modeling. We expected tofind which habitat factors had the greatest effects on the rodent population. The results indicated that climate conditions had direct negative effects on the population densities of D. sagitta and A. sibirica. The vegetation shield had negative effects on the population density of A. sibirica, but positive effects on that of M. meridianus. Increasing soil compaction could indirectly promote population density of A. sibirica, but directly increased the population density of M. eridianus. The vegetation shield had the greatest direct effect on dominant rodents, but soil compaction had the most indirect effects. These results suggest that the population dynamics of dominance in desert rodent species have been driven by many processes, and that climate has been a key factor in these processes. However, the population dynamics of dominance in rodent communities has been primarily regulated by changes in grazing due to changing vegetation cover. © 2017, Ecological Society of China. All rights reserved.


Yuan S.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Yuan S.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | Fu H.P.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Fu H.P.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | And 8 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2013

Cultivation on grassland ecosystem, as one of the greatest disturbance, is well studied. Grassland cultivation, especially in desert region, often results in habitat fragmentation, and subsequently affects plant and animal communities. Under intensive disturbance, the responses of rodent species with different bionomic strategies to environmental change could play a key role in determining structure of their communities. Few literatures on Chinese western desert have focused on the impacts of cultivation on rodents. A study was conducted from 2006 to 2011at cultivated and non-cultivated sites to investigate effect of cultivation on rodent community diversity, community structure with different bionomic strategies, and their population abundance in Alashan, Inner Mongolia, China. We expected that rodents with r strategy will dominate in cultivated site, while K strategists will dominate in non-cultivated site. Rodent communities monitoring using live trapping method showed that cultivation significantly decreased Shannon-Wiener index and Simpson index, but did not affect Pielou evenness index. In the cultivated site, species richness and population abundance of rodents with r strategy were higher than those of K strategy. In non-cultivated site, rodent population abundance was lower for r strategists than K strategists. ABC curve analysis showed that cumulative dominance of species abundance was higher cumulative dominance of species biomass in cultivated site. The results suggested that cultivation had a negative impact on the rodent community diversity, and severely disturbed rodent community, therefore, excluded or decreased rodents with K strategy. Our results supported our hypothesis that rodents with r strategy will be dominant in communities in cultivated site.


Wu X.D.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Wu X.D.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | Yuan S.,Inner Mongolia Agricultural University | Yuan S.,Key Laboratory of Prataculture Grassland Resources | And 5 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2016

The Northern Hemisphere of the earth has been experiencing remarkable climate warming in last century. Climate change has a profound influence on the distribution, range, and richness of species. Temperature and precipitation are two indicators of climate in most of studies. Because hydrothermic factor has a significant effect on desert ecosystem, it is particularly sensitive to climate fluctuations. Rodents are especially important components of the desert ecosystem, and are dominant species that play a key role in these systems. In addition, desert rodents have played an important role in the development of ecological theory and in the understanding of adaptations to xeric environments. Therefore, understanding the response of dominant rodent species to climate change is significant to biodiversity conversion. Desert ecosystems in China, compared with similar ecosystems in other continents, suffer more disturbances from human activities. Alxa desert is a typical desert ecosystem in China. Annual mean temperatures of Alxa desert have risen 9.05 degrees, and precipitation has increased 23.46mm in last decade. Against this Background, the response of desert rodents, especially dominant rodent species, to climate change, and how this response influences by human disturbances are keeping unknown. A study was conducted from 2002 to 2010 at prohibited-grazing, rotational-grazing, over-grazing, and cultivated sites to investigate the response of dominant rodent species to climate change in Alashan, Inner Mongolia, China. Rodent species were identified among and monitored with a live-trapping method. We trapped nine species including Dipus sagitta, Stylodipus andrewsi, Allactaga sibirica, Phodopus roborovskii, Cricetulus barabensis, Allocricetulus eversmanni, Meriones meridianus, Meriones unguiculatus and Spermophilus alaschanicus. M. meridianus was the dominant rodent species in prohibited-grazing and cultivated sites. However, A. sibirica and D. sagitta was the dominant rodent species in over-grazing and rotational grazing sites, respectively. The relationships of annual mean temperature and precipitation with rodent abundance were analyzed with Spearman correlation analysis and canonical correspondence analysis. The results showed that the response to temperature and precipitation was variable across rodent species. M. meridianus abundance was significantly correlated with annual precipitation in the previous year and annual mean temperature. The abundance optimum of A. sibirica and D. sagitta with respect to temperature was higher than that of M. meridianus and C. barabensis, but this pattern was reversed with respect to precipitation. Effect of temperature on desert rodent should be worked through influencing biology and ecological characteristics of animal, while precipitation affects the rodents through changing food resource and habitat. Precipitation has a pulse effect on M. meridianus abundance. These results suggested that human disturbance, occurring at a smaller spatial scale, should intensify or buffer the influence of precipitation rather than temperature on the dominant rodent species through altering food resource availability and habitat quality. These disturbances complex the response of rodent species to climate change, and have a further effect to community structure of desert rodent. © 2016, Ecological Society of China. All rights reserved.

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