Structural complexity, movement bias, and metapopulation extinction risk in dendritic ecological networks

Journal of the North American Benthological Society
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Abstract

Spatial complexity in metacommunities can be separated into 3 main components: size (i.e., number of habitat patches), spatial arrangement of habitat patches (network topology), and diversity of habitat patch types. Much attention has been paid to lattice-type networks, such as patch-based metapopulations, but interest in understanding ecological networks of alternative geometries is building. Dendritic ecological networks (DENs) include some increasingly threatened ecological systems, such as caves and streams. The restrictive architecture of dendritic ecological networks might have overriding implications for species persistence. I used a modeling approach to investigate how number and spatial arrangement of habitat patches influence metapopulation extinction risk in 2 DENs of different size and topology. Metapopulation persistence was higher in larger networks, but this relationship was mediated by network topology and the dispersal pathways used to navigate the network. Larger networks, especially those with greater topological complexity, generally had lower extinction risk than smaller and less-complex networks, but dispersal bias and magnitude affected the shape of this relationship. Applying these general results to real systems will require empirical data on the movement behavior of organisms and will improve our understanding of the implications of network complexity on population and community patterns and processes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Structural complexity, movement bias, and metapopulation extinction risk in dendritic ecological networks
Series title Journal of the North American Benthological Society
Volume 30
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Society for Freshwater Science
Publisher location Waco, Texas
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of the North American Benthological Society
First page 252
Last page 258
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