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Data from: Demographic compensation does not rescue populations at a trailing range edge

Cite this dataset

Sheth, Seema Nayan; Angert, Amy Lauren (2019). Data from: Demographic compensation does not rescue populations at a trailing range edge [Dataset]. Dryad.


Species' geographic ranges and climatic niches are likely to be increasingly mismatched due to rapid climate change. If a species' range and niche are out of equilibrium, then population performance should decrease from high-latitude "leading" range edges, where populations are expanding into recently ameliorated habitats, to low-latitude "trailing" range edges, where populations are contracting from newly unsuitable areas. Demographic compensation is a phenomenon whereby declines in some vital rates are offset by increases in others across time or space. In theory, demographic compensation could increase the range of environments over which populations can succeed and forestall range contraction at trailing edges. An outstanding question is whether range limits and range contractions reflect inadequate demographic compensation across environmental gradients, causing population declines at range edges. We collected demographic data from 32 populations of the scarlet monkeyflower (Erythranthe cardinalis) spanning 11˚ latitude in western North America and used integral projection models to evaluate population dynamics and assess demographic compensation across the species' range. During the 5-year study period, which included multiple years of severe drought and warming, population growth rates decreased from north to south, consistent with leading-trailing dynamics. Southern populations at the trailing range edge declined due to reduced survival, growth, and recruitment, despite compensatory increases in reproduction and faster life history characteristics. These results suggest that demographic compensation may only delay population collapse without the return of more favorable conditions or the contribution of other buffering mechanisms such as evolutionary rescue.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0950171


Oregon (USA)
California (USA)