Evol Ecol Res 13: 159-169 (2011)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Range border formation in a world with increasing climatic variance

Alexander Kubisch and Hans-Joachim Poethke

Field Station Fabrikschleichach, University of Wuerzburg, Rauhenebrach, Germany

Correspondence: A. Kubisch, Field Station Fabrikschleichach, University of Wuerzburg, Glashuettenstr. 5, 96181 Rauhenebrach, Germany.
e-mail: kubisch@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de


Questions: How will a change in climatic conditions characterized by an increase in the variance of environmental conditions affect the distribution of species along spatial environmental gradients? How does the specific type of gradient influence their response?

Features of the model: Spatially explicit individual-based simulation of a metapopulation. Logistic population growth and density-dependent emigration. Spatial gradients in habitat isolation, quality, and size.

Ranges of the key variables: Environmental stochasticity was modelled as a variation of net reproductive rate (λ). For a mean reproductive rate of λ = 2, the standard deviation (σ) was varied in the range of 0 to 3.

Conclusions: When the range margin was predominantly determined by a lack of colonizers, ranges initially expanded with increasing environmental fluctuations, but contracted again when these fluctuations became too strong (σ > 1). When extinction risk was more important for range formation, the initial expansion was damped or completely absent. When the climate changed too fast to allow for local adaptation of dispersal behaviour, the described patterns were less pronounced.

Keywords: climate change, density-dependent emigration, environmental gradient, environmental stochasticity, individual-based model, range formation, range shift.

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