Evol Ecol Res 1: 835-845 (1999)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Testing metapopulation models with stream-fish assemblages

Nicholas J. Gotelli1 and Christopher M. Taylor2

1Department of Biology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405 and 2Department of Biological Sciences, PO Drawer GY, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: ngotelli@zoo.uvm.edu


We assessed the utility of simple metapopulation models in an analysis of a decade (1976–86) of stream-fish censuses at 10 sites on the Cimarron River, Oklahoma. This assemblage is a good candidate for metapopulation analysis because there was substantial annual turnover of population, with frequent local extinctions and recolonizations. However, annual probabilities of colonization and extinction were usually not correlated with the fraction of sites occupied, a key prediction of many Levins-style metapopulation models. Instead, these probabilities were related to position in the stream gradient. For most species, colonization was less likely and extinction more likely in upstream than downstream sites. Consequently, the simple Levins-style metapopulation models failed to accurately predict the dynamics of most species. Metapopulation models that incorporate spatial variability in colonization and extinction probabilities may be more successful for populations that are distributed across environmental gradients.

Keywords: colonization, extinction, freshwater fishes, metapopulation.

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        © 1999 Nicholas J. Gotelli. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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