Using complex network metrics to predict the persistence of metapopulations with asymmetric connectivity patterns

Bode, Michael, Burrage, Kevin, & Possingham, Hugh P. (2008) Using complex network metrics to predict the persistence of metapopulations with asymmetric connectivity patterns. Ecological Modelling, 214(2-4), pp. 201-209.

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Almost all metapopulation modelling assumes that connectivity between patches is only a function of distance, and is therefore symmetric. However, connectivity will not depend only on the distance between the patches, as some paths are easy to traverse, while others are difficult. When colonising organisms interact with the heterogeneous landscape between patches, connectivity patterns will invariably be asymmetric. There have been few attempts to theoretically assess the effects of asymmetric connectivity patterns on the dynamics of metapopulations. In this paper, we use the framework of complex networks to investigate whether metapopulation dynamics can be determined by directly analysing the asymmetric connectivity patterns that link the patches. Our analyses focus on “patch occupancy” metapopulation models, which only consider whether a patch is occupied or not. We propose three easily calculated network metrics: the “asymmetry” and “average path strength” of the connectivity pattern, and the “centrality” of each patch. Together, these metrics can be used to predict the length of time a metapopulation is expected to persist, and the relative contribution of each patch to a metapopulation’s viability. Our results clearly demonstrate the negative effect that asymmetry has on metapopulation persistence. Complex network analyses represent a useful new tool for understanding the dynamics of species existing in fragmented landscapes, particularly those existing in large metapopulations.

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30 citations in Scopus
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27 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 46150
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Complex networks, Metapopulations, Asymmetric connectivity
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.02.040
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Conservation and Biodiversity (050202)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copryight 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2011 22:53
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2011 22:53

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