Spatial-temporal population dynamics across species range: from centre to margin


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Abstract

Understanding the boundaries of species' ranges and the variations in population dynamics from the centre to margin of a species' range is critical. This study simulated spatial-temporal patterns of birth and death rates and migration across a species' range in different seasons. Our results demonstrated the importance of dispersal and migration in altering birth and death rates, balancing source and sink habitats, and governing expansion or contraction of species' ranges in changing environments. We also showed that the multiple equilibria of metapopulations across a species' range could be easily broken following climatic changes or physical disturbances either local or regional. Although we refer to our models as describing the population dynamics across whole species' range, they should also apply to small-scale habitats (metapopulations) in which species abundance follows a humped pattern or to any ecosystem or landscape where strong central-marginal (C-M) environmental gradients exist. Conservation of both central and marginal populations would therefore be equally important considerations in making management decisions.

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