Holarctic Marmots as a factor of Biodiversity.
Rumiantsev V.Yu;, Nikol'skii A.A. & Brandler O.V. eds.,
Abstracts, 3d Conference on Marmots (Cheboksary, Russia, 25-30 August 1997),
Moscow ABF 1997, 216p., 43-44 (Russian), 145 (English).


O. Giboulet, S. Louis, Yu. Semenov, R. Ramousse

Laboratoire de Socioecologie et Conservation Betiment 403, UCBL1, Villeurbanne Cedex, France

In France, Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) are found mainly in the alpine districts but formally its distribution was very much larger. Since the 1960's, transfers of individuals of this species are undertaken in France, in order to reintroduce this species where it disappeared due to ecological factors or to game.

These transfers are unique occasions to follow the settlement of a colony in a new location and to study the spatial colonisation more easily than in areas where this species is present since a long time.

Several areas of (re)introductions have been followed since 1992. On each of this area a mapping of the points where marmots were found has been collected regularly, in order to determine what are the factors which lead to the choice of settlement, and to the choice of the directions of spreading. Furthermore, on several sites, a regular mapping of burrows and of indices of presence has been done to appreciate the speed of spatial colonisation and its different steps.

These studies showed that the choice of settlement is always highly related to the presence of rocks rather than to other ecological factors. The progressive colonisation of an area is made following the rocky axes. In each site, the spatial colonisation follows different steps. Starting from the rocky area where marmots are established, a progressive network of burrows and shelters spreads towards the alpine meadows which are finally occupied.

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