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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 417:139-149 (2010)  -  DOI:

Metapopulation mean life time within complex networks

S. Kininmonth 1,2,*, M. Drechsler3, K. Johst3, H. P. Possingham2

1Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville, Queensland 4810, Australia
2The Ecology Centre and Commonwealth Research Facility for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis, School of Biology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
3Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

ABSTRACT: Metapopulation dynamics depend on the exchange of individuals between populations across the landscape. The environment that the migrants must traverse is influenced by many forces, so the connections are often complicated pathways, which can be represented as a network. The structure of these networks will determine which populations will receive more migrants than other populations, and this in turn affects the lifetime of the metapopulation. We present a modification of the Drechsler (2009) formulae for the mean lifetime of a metapopulation based on network properties where the arrangement of the population connections is not limited to simple dispersal kernels. We provide a graph-theoretical framework for analysing the dispersal network and apply this model to the small-world network of the Great Barrier Reef as well as to conservation planning in general. Our results highlight that the topology of the dispersal network strongly influences the metapopulation mean lifetime. Metapopulation models and conservation planning need to include the capacity for basing interactions on complex topological structures.

KEY WORDS: Metapopulation · Dispersal · Networks · Graph theory

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Cite this article as: Kininmonth S, Drechsler M, Johst K, Possingham HP (2010) Metapopulation mean life time within complex networks. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 417:139-149.

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