The limiting behaviour of a patch occupancy model

Phil Pollett

(Joint work with Ross McVinish, University of Queensland)

Abstract: We consider a model for the presence/absence of a population in a network of habitat patches, which assumes that colonisation and extinction of patches occur as distinct phases. Since the local extinction probabilities are allowed to vary between patches, our model permits an investigation of the effect of habitat degradation on the persistence of the population. The limiting behaviour of the model is examined as the number n of habitat patches becomes large. We consider two limiting regimes: (i) where the initial number of occupied patches increases at the same rate as n and (ii) where the initial number of occupied patches is almost surely finite in the limit. In case (i) a law of large numbers ensues. In case (ii) our aim is to determine conditions under which a metapopulation that is close to extinction may recover.

Acknowledgement: This work is supported by the ARC

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Last modified: 7th April 2012