Evol Ecol Res 8: 1263-1275 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Simulated and human metapopulations created by habitat selection

Douglas W. Morris1* and Shomen Mukherjee1,2

1Department of Biology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1, Canada and 2Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: douglas.morris@lakeheadu.ca


Questions: Can density-dependent habitat selection create extinction–recolonization dynamics typical of metapopulations? Does habitat selection occur at spatial scales represented by metapopulations?

Approach: Simulation models of discrete logistic population growth by two competing species occupying three habitats. Test of the prediction that resident Canadians move between cities to maximize income.

Key assumptions: Groups in different habitats can be treated as different populations. Different Canadian cities represent separate habitats. Income is a surrogate of fitness. Humans and human societies are appropriate for assessing density-dependent habitat selection.

Results: Density-dependent habitat selection by two competing species can cause frequent local extinctions and recolonization of empty habitat. Canadians disperse between cities in a way that appears to maximize median household income.

Conclusion: Local extinction and recolonization is easily created by density-dependent habitat selection. Humans select habitat at a scale corresponding to that of a typical metapopulation.

Keywords: Canada, fitness, habitat selection, Homo sapiens, ideal-free distribution, metapopulation.

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