The effect of seasonality, density and climate on the population dynamics of Montana deer mice, important reservoir hosts for Sin Nombre hantavirus

Angela D. Luis, Richard J. Douglass, James N. Mills, Ottar N. Bjørnstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

1. Since Sin Nombre virus was discovered in the U.S. in 1993, longitudinal studies of the rodent reservoir host, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) have demonstrated a qualitative correlation among mouse population dynamics and risk of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in humans, indicating the importance of understanding deer mouse population dynamics for evaluating risk of HPS. 2. Using capture-mark-recapture statistical methods on a 15-year data set from Montana, we estimated deer mouse survival, maturation and recruitment rates and tested the relative importance of seasonality, population density and local climate in explaining temporal variation in deer mouse demography. 3. From these estimates, we designed a population model to simulate deer mouse population dynamics given climatic variables and compared the model to observed patterns. 4. Month, precipitation 5 months previously, temperature 5 months previously and to a lesser extent precipitation and temperature in the current month, were important in determining deer mouse survival. Month, the sum of precipitation over the last 4 months, and the sum of the temperature over the last 4 months were important in determining recruitment rates. Survival was more important in determining the growth rate of the population than recruitment. 5. While climatic drivers appear to have a complex influence on dynamics, our forecasts were good. Our quantitative model may allow public health officials to better predict increased human risk frombasic climatic data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-470
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume79
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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