Network theory and metapopulation persistence: incorporating node self-connections

Zamborain-Mason, Jessica, Russ, Garry R., Abesamis, Rene A., Bucol, Abner A., and Connolly, Sean R. (2017) Network theory and metapopulation persistence: incorporating node self-connections. Ecology Letters, 20 (7). pp. 815-831.

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Abstract

Network analysis is gaining increasing importance in conservation planning. However, which network metrics are the best predictors of metapopulation persistence is still unresolved. Here, we identify a critical limitation of graph theory-derived network metrics that have been proposed for this purpose: their omission of node self-connections. We resolve this by presenting modifications of existing network metrics, and developing entirely new metrics, that account for node self-connections. Then, we illustrate the performance of these new and modified metrics with an age-structured metapopulation model for a real-world marine reserve network case study, and we evaluate the robustness of our findings by systematically varying particular features of that network. Our new and modified metrics predict metapopulation persistence much better than existing metrics do, even when self-connections are weak. Existing metrics become good predictors of persistence only when self-connections are entirely absent, an unrealistic scenario in the overwhelming majority of metapopulation applications. Our study provides a set of novel tools that can substantially enhance the extent to which network metrics can be employed to understand, and manage for, metapopulation persistence.

Item ID: 49849
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: conservation planning, local retention, metapopulation persistence, network metrics, network theory, reserve networks, self-recruitment
ISSN: 1461-0248
Funders: La Caixa Foundation (CF), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 02:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830299 Fisheries- Wild Caught not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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