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Incorporating the connectivity timescale in metapopulation partitioning

journal contribution
posted on 21.06.2021, 23:08 by Christopher Aiken, Sergio A Navarrete
The often complex spatial patterns of propagule dispersal across a metapopulation present a challenge for species management, motivating efforts to represent the connectivity in simpler but meaningful ways. The reduction of complexity may be achieved by partitioning the metapopulation into groups of highly connected patches called “subpopulations.” To have relevance for management, these subunits must be defined from ecological or evolutionary principles. The probabilities of dispersal-mediated propagule interchange between sites, commonly organized into a connectivity matrix, entail a timescale that is usually ignored in subpopulation analyses, limiting their utility and possibly leading to misinterpretation and wrong management decisions. Recognition of the essentially dynamical role played by metapopulation connectivity naturally leads to the incorporation of the generational timescale into the partitioning analysis. An algorithm is proposed to determine the subpopulations—both their cardinality and their composition—as a function of the generational timescale and of a limiting probability of connection, illustrated with a novel empirical estimate of mesopelagic connectivity. The proposed framework allows the unambiguous determination of the timescales corresponding to dispersal barriers and the identification of effective ecological units across the spectrum of management-relevant time horizons.

History

Volume

196

Issue

2

Start Page

145

End Page

156

Number of Pages

12

eISSN

1537-5323

ISSN

0003-0147

Location

United States

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

Language

eng

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

12/03/2020

Era Eligible

Yes

Medium

Print-Electronic

Journal

American Naturalist