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The cutest voles

Credit: Xavier Lambin

The fate of a major European ecosystem depends on populations of a tiny, mouse-like creature: the vole.

Herbivorous voles play a critical role in the food chain. They are prey for many predators and important consumers of vegetation. Historically, voles have had three- to five-year boom-and-bust population cycles. However, over the past half-century, these cycles have been much less pronounced, a new study finds. The widespread flattening of vole populations may be due to climate change, and it could have detrimental effects on species that rely on these little creatures.

[Full Story: Vole Population Booms on the Decline in Europe]   Less «
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