Effects of branching spatial structure and life history on the asymptotic growth rate of a population

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Goldberg, Emma E.
Lynch, Heather J.
Neubert, Michael G.
Fagan, William F.
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Dispersal bias
Spatial ecology
Eigenvector analysis
The dendritic structure of a river network creates directional dispersal and a hierarchical arrangement of habitats. These two features have important consequences for the ecological dynamics of species living within the network.We apply matrix population models to a stage-structured population in a network of habitat patches connected in a dendritic arrangement. By considering a range of life histories and dispersal patterns, both constant in time and seasonal, we illustrate how spatial structure, directional dispersal, survival, and reproduction interact to determine population growth rate and distribution. We investigate the sensitivity of the asymptotic growth rate to the demographic parameters of the model, the system size, and the connections between the patches. Although some general patterns emerge, we find that a species’ mode of reproduction and dispersal are quite important in its response to changes in its life history parameters or in the spatial structure. The framework we use here can be customized to incorporate a wide range of demographic and dispersal scenarios.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Theoretical Ecology 3 (2010): 137-152, doi:10.1007/s12080-009-0058-0.
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