DOI: 10.1007/s10144-009-0156-2

Allee threshold and extinction threshold for spatially explicit metapopulation dynamics with Allee effects

1. Faculty of Engineering, Shizuoka University

Correspondence to:
Kazunori Sato
Email: sato@sys.eng.shizuoka.ac.jp

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate a spatially explicit metapopulation model with Allee effects. We refer to the patch occupancy model introduced by Levins (Bull Entomol Soc Am 15:237–240, 1969) as a spatially implicit metapopulation model, i.e., each local patch is either occupied or vacant and a vacant patch can be recolonized by a randomly chosen occupied patch from anywhere in the metapopulation. When we transform the model into a spatially explicit one by using a lattice model, the obtained model becomes theoretically equivalent to a “lattice logistic model” or a “basic contact process”. One of the most popular or standard metapopulation models with Allee effects, developed by Amarasekare (Am Nat 152:298–302, 1998), supposes that those effects are introduced formally by means of a logistic equation. However, it is easier to understand the ecological meaning of associating Allee effects with this model if we suppose that only the logistic colonization term directly suffers from Allee effects. The resulting model is also well defined, and therefore we can naturally examine it by Monte Carlo simulation and by doublet and triplet decoupling approximation. We then obtain the following specific features of one-dimensional lattice space: (1) the metapopulation as a whole does not have an Allee threshold for initial population size even when each local population follows the Allee effects; and (2) a metapopulation goes extinct when the extinction rate of a local population is lower than that in the spatially implicit model. The real ecological metapopulation lies between two extremes: completely mixing interactions between patches on the one hand and, on the other, nearest neighboring interactions with only two nearest neighbors. Thus, it is important to identify the metapopulation structure when we consider the problems of invasion species such as establishment or the speed of expansion.

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