Landscape Pattern Determines Neighborhood Size and Structure within a Lizard Population
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Although defining population structure according to discrete habitat patches is convenient for metapopulation theories, taking this approach may overlook structure within populations continuously distributed across landscapes. For example, landscape features within habitat patches direct the movement of organisms and define the density distribution of individuals, which can generate spatial structure and localized dynamics within populations as well as among them. Here, we use the neighborhood concept, which describes population structure relative to the scale of individual movements, to illustrate how localized dynamics within a population of lizards (Sceloporus arenicolus) arise in response to variation in landscape pattern within a continuous habitat patch. Our results emphasize links between individual movements at small scales and the emergence of spatial structure within populations which resembles metapopulation dynamics at larger scales. We conclude that population dynamics viewed in a landscape context must consider the explicit distribution and movement of individuals within continuous habitat as well as among habitat patches.
author list (cited authors)
Ryberg, W. A., Hill, M. T., Painter, C. W., & Fitzgerald, L. A.