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Closing of research program on the decline of vole populations

The five-year research program on the decline of montane water vole populations was closed at the end of September at Chrono-environnement with the funders and at the Chamber of Agriculture of Valdahon with farmers having contracted about environment-friendly control..
Begun in July 2014 (see article: Farmers bet on research) it was intended to understand the evolution of bacterial communities potentially pathogenic for voles during the decline phase of their populations. Coordinated by Patrick Giraudoux, professor of ecology at the Chrono-environnement laboratory, with the support of Geoffroy Couval, engineer at FREDON, this program made it possible to engage in PhD and post-doc Petra Villette, from Canada, which was the keyforce in the research conducted.

Main results

  • The individual richness of bacteria "species" is higher during declines, vole body condition is worse and reproduction is (perhaps) diminished.
  • Bacterial species richness does not show any clear variations during the declines at the population level.
  • The undetected richness of the meta-population begins to decline after the peak density phase of voles.
  • Residual bacteria species in the low density phase were already present everywhere and throughout the study period, and some are associated with each other.
    A comparative study of samples collected 10 years earlier during a decline phase also showed that the bacterial communities were different from those observed during the program.

The evolution of the program
All these results could lead to the development of new biological indicators to predict the phases of decline, an important point in terms of application.

Financial support
This program has received major support from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Franche-Comté Region, Annie Genevard, Doubs member of the parliement, the Interdepartmental Agricultural Chamber of the Doubs and Territoire de Belfort, the Agricultural Chamber of Jura, Crédit Agricole de Franche-Comté and the Chrono-environnement laboratory.

Learn more

* Article in the local press: Together, they went further
* Publication: Villette P., Afonso E., Couval G., Levret A., Galan M., Tatard C., Cosson J.f., Giraudoux P. (2017). Consequences of organ choice in describing bacterial pathogen assemblages in a rodent population. Epidemiology and Infection, 145 (14), 3070-3075.
* Thesis (downloadable) of Petra Villette
* Observatory "Rodents - predators"

Contacts :

Patrick Giraudoux
Geoffroy Couval


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