Effects of long-distance dispersal for metapopulation survival and genetic structure at ecological time and spatial scales
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2005
Journal of Ecology
Volume 93, Issue 5, pages 1029–1040, October 2005
How to Cite
BOHRER, G., NATHAN, R. and VOLIS, S. (2005), Effects of long-distance dispersal for metapopulation survival and genetic structure at ecological time and spatial scales. Journal of Ecology, 93: 1029–1040. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.01048.x
- Issue published online: 26 JUL 2005
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2005
- Received 28 February 2005 revision accepted 26 May 2005Handling Editor: Angela Moles
- genetic diversity;
- local extinction;
- population ecology;
- wind dispersal
- 1Long-distance dispersal (LDD) of seeds by wind plays an important role in population survival and structure, especially in naturally patchy or human-fragmented metapopulations. However, no study has tested its effects using a realistic dispersal kernel in a metapopulation context with explicit spatial structure and local extinctions.
- 2We incorporated such kernels into a newly proposed simulation model, which combines within-patch (population) demographic processes and a simplified maternally inherited single-locus, two-allele genetic make-up of the populations. As a test case, we modelled a typical conservation scenario of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) populations.
- 3The effects of LDD were rather diverse and depended on initial population conditions and local extinction rates. LDD increased metapopulation survival at intermediate local-extinction probabilities. LDD helped maintain higher total genetic variability in populations that were initially drifted, but facilitated random genetic loss through drift in initially ‘well mixed’ populations. LDD prevented population differentiation in low extinction rates but increased it at intermediate to high extinction rates.
- 4Our results suggest that LDD has broader evolutionary implications and would be selected for in populations facing intermediate local-extinction pressures. Our modelling approach provides a strong tool to test the effects of LDD on metapopulation survival and genetic variability and to identify the parameters to which such effects are most sensitive, in ecological and conservational scenarios.