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Size matters: extraordinary rodent abundance on an Australian tropical flood plain

Madsen, Thomas LU ; Ujvari, Beata LU ; Shine, R ; Buttemer, W and Olsson, M (2006) In Austral Ecology 31(3). p.361-365
Abstract
Published estimates of the total biomass of natural populations of mammalian herbivores generally have ignored small-bodied taxa (especially, rodents). Including such taxa may dramatically change our understanding of total biomass and energy flow in such systems. Dusky rats (Rattus colletti) are small (up to 210 g) native Australian mammals, and our 5-year mark-recapture study on a tropical flood plain (Adelaide River, Northern Territory) revealed that rat biomass can reach extraordinary levels (up to 4.7 t km(-2)). Because their small body size results in high mass-specific metabolic rates, a given biomass of rodents has a several-fold higher total energy requirement than the same mass of large-bodied herbivores. Accordingly, during some... (More)
Published estimates of the total biomass of natural populations of mammalian herbivores generally have ignored small-bodied taxa (especially, rodents). Including such taxa may dramatically change our understanding of total biomass and energy flow in such systems. Dusky rats (Rattus colletti) are small (up to 210 g) native Australian mammals, and our 5-year mark-recapture study on a tropical flood plain (Adelaide River, Northern Territory) revealed that rat biomass can reach extraordinary levels (up to 4.7 t km(-2)). Because their small body size results in high mass-specific metabolic rates, a given biomass of rodents has a several-fold higher total energy requirement than the same mass of large-bodied herbivores. Accordingly, during some years dusky rat biomass can be double that estimated for large herbivores on the world's most productive savannas in eastern and southern Africa. The huge rodent biomass strongly suggests that the Adelaide River flood plain must be an incredibly productive habitat. Considering the immense biological importance of these productive ecosystems, flood plain conservation must be placed high on the priority list of habitats that require immediate protection. (Less)
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author
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Austral Ecology
volume
31
issue
3
pages
361 - 365
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000236715800009
  • scopus:33645909253
ISSN
1442-9985
DOI
10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01564.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2d9000ed-9439-443f-9e21-d5a7c9a4f3be (old id 159469)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 16:16:35
date last changed
2021-03-24 03:24:14
@article{2d9000ed-9439-443f-9e21-d5a7c9a4f3be,
  abstract     = {Published estimates of the total biomass of natural populations of mammalian herbivores generally have ignored small-bodied taxa (especially, rodents). Including such taxa may dramatically change our understanding of total biomass and energy flow in such systems. Dusky rats (Rattus colletti) are small (up to 210 g) native Australian mammals, and our 5-year mark-recapture study on a tropical flood plain (Adelaide River, Northern Territory) revealed that rat biomass can reach extraordinary levels (up to 4.7 t km(-2)). Because their small body size results in high mass-specific metabolic rates, a given biomass of rodents has a several-fold higher total energy requirement than the same mass of large-bodied herbivores. Accordingly, during some years dusky rat biomass can be double that estimated for large herbivores on the world's most productive savannas in eastern and southern Africa. The huge rodent biomass strongly suggests that the Adelaide River flood plain must be an incredibly productive habitat. Considering the immense biological importance of these productive ecosystems, flood plain conservation must be placed high on the priority list of habitats that require immediate protection.},
  author       = {Madsen, Thomas and Ujvari, Beata and Shine, R and Buttemer, W and Olsson, M},
  issn         = {1442-9985},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {361--365},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Austral Ecology},
  title        = {Size matters: extraordinary rodent abundance on an Australian tropical flood plain},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01564.x},
  doi          = {10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01564.x},
  volume       = {31},
  year         = {2006},
}