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Inter-patch movement in an experimental system: the effects of life history and the environment

O’Sullivan, Daniel and Benton, Tim G and Cameron, Tom C (2014) 'Inter-patch movement in an experimental system: the effects of life history and the environment.' Oikos, 123 (5). 623 - 629. ISSN 0030-1299

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An important process for the persistence of populations subjected to habitat loss and fragmentation is the dispersal of individuals between habitat patches. Dispersal involves emigration from a habitat patch, movement between patches through the surrounding landscape, and immigration into a new suitable habitat patch. Both landscape and physical condition of the disperser are known to influence dispersal ability, although disentangling these effects can often be difficult in the wild. In one of the first studies of its kind, we used an invertebrate model system to investigate how dispersal success is affected by the interaction between the habitat condition, as determined by food availability, and life history characteristics (which are also influenced by food availability). Dispersal of juvenile and adult mites (male and female) from either high food or low food natal patches were tested separately in connected three patch systems where the intervening habitat patches were suitable (food supplied) or unsuitable (no food supplied). We found that dispersal success was reduced when low food habitat patches were coupled to colonising patches via unsuitable intervening patches. Larger body size was shown to be a good predictor of dispersal success, particularly when the intervening landscape is unsuitable. Our results suggest that there is an interaction between habitat fragmentation and habitat suitability in determining dispersal success: if patches degrade in suitability and this affects the ability to disperse successfully then the effective connectance across landscapes may be lowered. Understanding these consequences will be important in informing our understanding of how species, and the communities in which they are embedded, may potentially respond to habitat fragmentation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2014 12:20
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2020 21:15

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