A Habitat‐Based Metapopulation Model of the California Gnatcatcher

A Habitat‐Based Metapopulation Model of the California Gnatcatcher We present an analysis of the metapopulation dynamics of the federally threatened coastal California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila c. californica) for an approximately 850 km2 region of Orange County, California. We developed and validated a habitat suitability model for this species using data on topography, vegetation, and locations of gnatcatcher pair observations. Using this habitat model, we calculated the spatial structure of the metapopulation, including size and location of habitat patches and the distances among them. We used data based on field studies to estimate parameters such as survival, fecundity, dispersal, and catastrophes, and combined these parameters with the spatial structure to build a stage‐structured, stochastic, spatially‐explicit metapopulation model. The model predicted a fast decline and high risk of population extinction with most combinations of parameters. Results were most sensitive to density‐dependent effects, the probability of weather‐related catastrophes, adult survival, and adult fecundity. Based on data used in the model, the greatest difference in results was given when the simulation’s time horizon was only a few decades, suggesting that modeling based on longer or shorter time horizons may underestimate the effects of alternative management actions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

A Habitat‐Based Metapopulation Model of the California Gnatcatcher

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Society for Conservation Biology
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
DOI
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1997.96164.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We present an analysis of the metapopulation dynamics of the federally threatened coastal California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila c. californica) for an approximately 850 km2 region of Orange County, California. We developed and validated a habitat suitability model for this species using data on topography, vegetation, and locations of gnatcatcher pair observations. Using this habitat model, we calculated the spatial structure of the metapopulation, including size and location of habitat patches and the distances among them. We used data based on field studies to estimate parameters such as survival, fecundity, dispersal, and catastrophes, and combined these parameters with the spatial structure to build a stage‐structured, stochastic, spatially‐explicit metapopulation model. The model predicted a fast decline and high risk of population extinction with most combinations of parameters. Results were most sensitive to density‐dependent effects, the probability of weather‐related catastrophes, adult survival, and adult fecundity. Based on data used in the model, the greatest difference in results was given when the simulation’s time horizon was only a few decades, suggesting that modeling based on longer or shorter time horizons may underestimate the effects of alternative management actions.

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Apr 20, 1997

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