Modelling the effect of habitat fragmentation on range expansion in a butterfly

Wilson, Robert J. and Davies, Zoe G. and Thomas, Chris D. (2009) Modelling the effect of habitat fragmentation on range expansion in a butterfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 276 (1661). pp. 1421-1427. ISSN 0962-8452. (doi: (Full text available)

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There is an increasing need for conservation programmes to make quantitative predictions of biodiversity responses to changed environments. Such predictions will be particularly important to promote species recovery in fragmented landscapes, and to understand and facilitate distribution responses to climate change. Here, we model expansion rates of a test species (a rare butterfly, Hesperia comma) in five landscapes over 18 years (generations), using a metapopulation model (the incidence function model). Expansion rates increased with the area, quality and proximity of habitat patches available for colonization, with predicted expansion rates closely matching observed rates in test landscapes. Habitat fragmentation constrained expansion, but in a predictable way, suggesting that it will prove feasible both to understand variation in expansion rates and to develop conservation programmes to increase rates of range expansion in such species.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2011 16:54 UTC
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 09:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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