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Populations live in habitats whose quality varies spatially and temporally. Understanding how populations deal with these variable habitats can aid our understanding of theoretical issues, and practical issues of biological invasions and biodiversity conservation. I investigate these issues by superimposing simple models of population growth and dispersal on spatiotemporally fractal landscapes, and examining the properties of the landscapes, and of the populations inhabiting them. The properties of the simulated landscape sequences are comparable to those of real habitats. The simulated populations exhibit a range of dynamic behaviors; these behaviors are strongly influenced by the fractal parameters of the landscapes. The results may help explain several important phenomena seen in reintroductions of threatened and endangered species, introductions of biological control agents, and biological invasions. These phenomena include frequently observed lags between population introduction and initial population growth and spread, and the observed high frequency of failure of introductions.
neutral landscape model, spatial population model, coupled map lattice, theoretical ecology, invasive species, endangered species
Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM