Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 5074
Title: Habitat selection reduces extinction of populations subject to Allee effects
Author: Correigh M. Greene
Publication Year: 2003
Journal: Theoretical Population Biology
Volume: 64
Issue: 1
Pages: 1-10

Theoretical studies indicate that a single population under an Allee effect will decline to extinction if reduced below a particular threshold, but the existence of multiple local populations connected by random dispersal improves persistence of the global population.  An additional process that can facilitate persistence is the existence of habitat selection by dispersers.  Using analytic and simulation models of population change, I found that when habitat patches exhibiting Allee effects are connected by dispersing individuals, habitat selection by these dispersers increases the likelihood that patches persist at high densities, relative to results expected by random settlement.  Populations exhibiting habitat selection also attain equilibrium more quickly than randomly dispersing populations.  These effects are particularly important when Allee effects are large and more than two patches exist.  Integrating habitat selection into population dynamics may help address why some studies have failed to find extinction thresholds in populations, despite well-known Allee effects in many species.

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