Stochastic models for population networks

Phil Pollett

Abstract: A metapopulation is a population that is confined to a network of geographically separated habitat patches. Although the individual patches may suffer local extinction, recolonization can occur through dispersal of individuals from other patches. Empirical evidence suggests that a balance between migration and extinction is reached that enables metapopulations to persist for long periods, and there has been considerable interest in developing models that account for the persistence of the population network. Typically, these models do not account specifically for local patch dynamics, nor for the movement of individuals from one patch to another. In this talk I will review some standard stochastic network theory (which was developed largely in engineering contexts) that can be bought to bear on the analysis of metapopulation networks, and show how these more detailed models can be reconciled with the simpler models familiar to ecologists, namely presence-absence models (that record which patches are occupied) and patch-occupancy models (which merely count the number of occupied patches).

Acknowledgement: This work is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems

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Last modified: 30th September 2008