Abrupt population changes along smooth environmental gradients
Populations often exhibit abrupt changes in abundance associated with a smooth, continuous change in some component of their environment, with the abruptness usually attributed to inter-specific interactions or physical extremes. This paper presents a spatially explicit single-species population model in which intra-specific interactions alone are responsible for such an abrupt change. The essential mechanism involves cooperation in both colonization (through enhanced recruitment near other individuals) and mortality (protection through a 'safety-in-numbers' interaction). Large fluctuations in population density would likely be observable near the transition region.
Wilson, WG; Nisbet, RM; Ross, AH; Robles, C; Desharnais, RA
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