Myths and moderation in marine ‘metapopulations’?
Article first published online: 23 NOV 2002
Fish and Fisheries
Volume 3, Issue 1, pages 20–35, March 2002
How to Cite
Smedbol, R. K., McPherson, A., Hansen, M. M. and Kenchington, E. (2002), Myths and moderation in marine ‘metapopulations’?. Fish and Fisheries, 3: 20–35. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2979.2002.00062.x
- Issue published online: 23 NOV 2002
- Article first published online: 23 NOV 2002
- Received 6 Nov 2001Accepted 5 Dec 2001
- population dynamics;
The metapopulation concept is appearing with increasing frequency in the marine population dynamics and genetics literature, though its applicability to marine systems remains an open question. Moreover, in recent years, the meaning of the term ‘metapopulation’ has become blurred, concomitant with its increasing use. In this paper, we summarize the concept of metapopulation dynamics and the associated theoretical assumptions. We call for a stricter definition and use of the term ‘metapopulation’, critically evaluate the applicability of metapopulation theory to marine population dynamics and its use in the related literature, and consider two published case-studies that investigate metapopulation structuring in specific marine populations. Finally, we urge scientists to carefully articulate what is meant by the term ‘metapopulation’ and to use appropriate citations in the primary literature to circumvent the potential for nebulous (and possibly damaging) conclusions in the future.