It has been a very enriching experience. Virgile Baudrot and I (Javier) went from east to west of France, concretely to the CEBC of Chizé. This hidden research centre in the middle of a forest is thus in direct contact to nature, birds, and close to field crops. The conference was a nice gathering with many young researchers covering many interesting topics. My favourites: pollination and bees, citizen science and visits to gardens by birds, improved crop production all over the world, including developing countries. Just fantastic!
We got several interesting questions for our talks (see previous post). In the small mustelid study, it was asked which factors regulate bromadiolone use in our study sites. We explained that bromadiolone is now regulated and can only be used at low-intermediate densities while during the early nineties it could be used at vole peak densities. We also explained that treatment frequency probably is also influenced by social factors. It is shocking that in some sites there is such uniformity of opinions by farmers in which all of them say “it is necessary to treat, there are too many voles and they produce too many damages”, while other farmers say ” Bromadiolone is not so effective and we don’t need to treat”. It was also suggested to continue the field work part of the small mustelid study with another year, so the results can be more robust in order to be published. This should be prioritized to other tasks.
About the modelling study presented by Virgile, he clarified that our model was based in simulations of population dynamics of 50 years. The voles showed six-year population cycles followed by small mustelid populations and with foxes in the system too but with no numerical response. From this simplified system, we introduced different scenarios of treatment to observe the outcomes in the population dynamics of voles and predators. Another question served to reinforce the finding that in some scenarios, once mustelid density achieves an intermediate density level, mustelids are able to regulate the vole population. Then, the farmer does not need to treat because vole densities are simply just too low.
During the congress Virgile and I also had some time to work in our future paper of modelling that we are already preparing.
And for the first evening each participant had to bring a typical meal from our region. We brought Comté cheese and this Spanish tortilla ;-P