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., 58 (Russian), 162-163 (English).


M. Le Berre, R. Ramousse

Laboratoire de Socioécologie et Conservation Bâtiment 403, UCBL1, Villeurbanne Cédex, France

Since 1990, research activities on marmots have been developed in relation to the opening of new programs. The increase of scientific activity will be exemplified by a study of the publications which appeared in these years.

From 1990 to 1996 studies on alpine marmots have been supported by four research programs: two supported by the department of environment, one by the CNRS, one by the European Union. These studies permit to better know the geographical distribution of marmots in France (gradients in latitude and altitude). They also permit to better know how occurs the local occupation of space by family groups and populations.

The researches in progress are not confined to the classic biological aspects of knowledge on marmots (ecology, ethology, population dynamics). They also involved human sciences. We will give the results showing at best a new aspect of research.

A team of ethnobiologists studied the role of marmots in the representation of people in the mountains and in tourists in winter and summer showing differences in the concept. Giving the name "marmot" to humans of people from Savoie (during the 18 and 19 centuries) in the course of his annual migrations to the French cities and is now given to tourists by people from Savoie.

Another pioneer research has been conducted on the economical aspects linked to a population of marmots in a mountain district. This study led to the proposal of a model to evaluate the costs and benefits inducted by the presence of these animals.

It showed a highly positive income for the inhabitants. These studies are still in progress and are now devoted to the economical evaluation of some operations of management of marmot populations such as reintroductions.

In genetics, until now unexplored as long as sociology of marmots is concerned, the study of molecular results showed new types of social relationship such as adoption of pregnant females by an adult male and the adoption of the offspring by the male.

The study of the effects of the anthropogenic pressure on the plasticity of marmot behaviour and the adoption of survival strategies showed a long term memory process of these strategies by family groups of marmots under such pressures.

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