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Data from: Spatial and spatiotemporal variation in metapopulation structure affects population dynamics in a passively dispersing arthropod

Citation

De Roissart, Annelies; Wang, Shaopeng; Bonte, Dries (2016), Data from: Spatial and spatiotemporal variation in metapopulation structure affects population dynamics in a passively dispersing arthropod, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.18r5f

Abstract

1. The spatial and temporal variation in the availability of suitable habitat within metapopulations determines colonization–extinction events, regulates local population sizes and eventually affects local population and metapopulation stability. Insights into the impact of such a spatiotemporal variation on the local population and metapopulation dynamics are principally derived from classical metapopulation theory and have not been experimentally validated. 2. By manipulating spatial structure in artificial metapopulations of the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, we test to which degree spatial (mainland–island metapopulations) and spatiotemporal variation (classical metapopulations) in habitat availability affects the dynamics of the metapopulations relative to systems where habitat is constantly available in time and space (patchy metapopulations). 3. Our experiment demonstrates that (i) spatial variation in habitat availability decreases variance in metapopulation size and decreases density-dependent dispersal at the metapopulation level, while (ii) spatiotemporal variation in habitat availability increases patch extinction rates, decreases local population and metapopulation sizes and decreases density dependence in population growth rates. We found dispersal to be negatively density dependent and overall low in the spatial variable mainland–island metapopulation. 4. This demographic variation subsequently impacts local and regional population dynamics and determines patterns of metapopulation stability. Both local and metapopulation-level variabilities are minimized in mainland–island metapopulations relative to classical and patchy ones.

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