Mammalian Biology

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 146–150 | Cite as

Temperature trends and recent decline in body size of the stone marten Martes foina in Denmark

  • Yoram Yom-TovEmail author
  • Noam Leader
  • Shlomith Yom-Tov
  • Hans J. Baagøe
Original Investigation


We studied a sample of 131 skulls of the stone marten Martes foina that were collected in Denmark between 1858 and 1999. Data were available for 37 years, but collection effort was not uniform throughout the study period and annual sample size varied between 1 and 27. We used principal component analysis (PCA) to combine the information of four skull measurements into a single variable (PC1). PC1 was then corrected for factors that significantly affected it (sex and longitude), and residual PC1 was used for further analysis in which we calculated trends in PC1 values during the study period. During the study period there was an increase in mean annual temperature in Denmark, but this increase was not continuous, as there was slight decrease in temperature between 1947 and 1965.

We found that skull size (and by implication body size) of the stone marten in Denmark had two periods of decrease and these two periods coincide with the periods of increase in mean annual temperature. These results may indicate that body size of the stone marten is sensitive to the change in ambient temperature, either due to a change in food availability that was caused by the increase in temperature, or decreased its size in accordance with Bergmann’s rule.


Stone marten Martes foina Denmark Ambient temperature Skull size 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoram Yom-Tov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Noam Leader
    • 2
  • Shlomith Yom-Tov
    • 1
  • Hans J. Baagøe
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Nature and Parks AuthorityJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.The Natural History Museum of Denmark, Zoological MuseumUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark

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