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Patch dynamics in a landscape modified by ecosystem engineers

Wright, J.P. and Gurney, William and Jones, C.G. (2004) Patch dynamics in a landscape modified by ecosystem engineers. Oikos, 105 (2). pp. 336-348. ISSN 1600-0706

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Abstract

Ecosystem engineers, organisms that modify the environment, have the potential to dramatically alter ecosystem structure and function at large spatial scales. The degree to which ecosystem engineering produces large-scale effects is, in part, dependent on the dynamics of the patches that engineers create. Here we develop a set of models that links the population dynamics of ecosystem engineers to the dynamics of the patches that they create. We show that the relative abundance of different patch types in an engineered landscape is dependent upon the production of successful colonists from engineered patches and the rate at which critical resources are depleted by engineers and then renewed. We also consider the effects of immigration from either outside the system or from engineers that are present in non-engineered patches, and the effects of engineers that can recolonize patches before they are fully recovered on the steady state distribution of different patch types. We use data collected on the population dynamics of a model engineer, the beaver, to estimate the per-patch production rate of new colonists, the decay rate of engineered patches, and the recovery rate of abandoned patches. We use these estimated parameters as a baseline to determine the effects of varying parameters on the distribution of different patch types. We suggest a number of hypotheses that derive from model predictions and that could serve as tests of the model.

Item type: Article
ID code: 41409
Keywords: ecosystem structure , ecosystem engineering, population dynamics , colonists, Mathematics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Subjects: Science > Mathematics
Department: Faculty of Science > Mathematics and Statistics
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Pure Administrator
    Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2012 19:59
    Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 17:58
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/41409

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