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J Theor Biol. 2000 Dec 7;207(3):377-87.

Effects of patch number and dispersal patterns on population dynamics and synchrony.

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Systems Analysis Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, HUT, FIN-02015, Finland.


In this paper, we examine the effects of patch number and different dispersal patterns on dynamics of local populations and on the level of synchrony between them. Local population renewal is governed by the Ricker model and we also consider asymmetrical dispersal as well as the presence of environmental heterogeneity. Our results show that both population dynamics and the level of synchrony differ markedly between two and a larger number of local populations. For two patches different dispersal rules give very versatile dynamics. However, for a larger number of local populations the dynamics are similar irrespective of the dispersal rule. For example, for the parameter values yielding stable or periodic dynamics in a single population, the dynamics do not change when the patches are coupled with dispersal. High intensity of dispersal does not guarantee synchrony between local populations. The level of synchrony depends also on dispersal rule, the number of local populations, and the intrinsic rate of increase. In our study, the effects of density-independent and density-dependent dispersal rules do not show any consistent difference. The results call for caution when drawing general conclusions from models of only two interacting populations and question the applicability of a large number of theoretical papers dealing with two local populations.

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