A.M. de Roos
- Habitat destruction in mutualistic metacommunities
- Theoretical Population Biology
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
We investigate a mutualistic metacommunity where the strength of the mutualistic interaction between species is measured by theextent to which the presence of one species on a patch either reduces the extinction rate of the others present on the same patch orincreases their ability to colonize other patches. In both cases, a strong enough mutualism enables all species to persist at habitatdensities where they would all be extinct in the absence of the interaction. However, a mutualistic interaction that enhancescolonization enables the species to persist at lower habitat density than one that suppresses extinction. All species abruptly go extinct(catastrophe) when the habitat density is decreased infinitesimally below a critical value. A comparison of the mean field or spatiallyimplicit case with unrestricted dispersal and colonization to all patches in the system with a spatially explicit case where dispersal isrestricted to the immediate neighbours of the original patch leads to the intriguing conclusion that restricted dispersal can befavourable for species that have a beneficial effect on each other when habitat conditions are adverse. When the mutualisticinteraction is strong enough, the extinction threshold or critical amount of habitat required for the persistence of all species is lowerwhen the dispersal is locally restricted than when unrestricted ! The persistence advantage for all species created by the mutualisticinteraction increases substantially with the number of species in the metacommunity, as does the advantage for restricted dispersalover global dispersal.
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