Carrying Capacity of Spatially Distributed Metapopulations

Bo Zhang, Donald L. DeAngelis, Wei Ming Ni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Carrying capacity is a key concept in ecology. A body of theory, based on the logistic equation, has extended predictions of carrying capacity to spatially distributed, dispersing populations. However, this theory has only recently been tested empirically. The experimental results disagree with some theoretical predictions of when they are extended to a population dispersing randomly in a two-patch system. However, they are consistent with a mechanistic model of consumption on an exploitable resource (consumer–resource model). We argue that carrying capacity, defined as the total equilibrium population, is not a fundamental property of ecological systems, at least in the context of spatial heterogeneity. Instead, it is an emergent property that depends on the population's intrinsic growth and dispersal rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers, as well as Deborah Epperson and Simeon Yurek of the U.S. Geological Survey, who provided insightful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by McIntire-Stennis funds, Oklahoma State University and UC Davis Chancellors? postdoc fellowship to B.Z.; U.S. Geological Survey's Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Program to D.L.D.; and Natural Science Foundation and Natural Science Foundation China to W.N. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Funding Information:
We thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers, as well as Deborah Epperson and Simeon Yurek of the U.S. Geological Survey, who provided insightful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by McIntire-Stennis funds, Oklahoma State University and UC Davis Chancellors’ postdoc fellowship to B.Z.; U.S. Geological Survey ’s Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Program to D.L.D.; and Natural Science Foundation and Natural Science Foundation China to W.N. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • consumer-resource model
  • dispersal
  • environmental heterogeneity
  • logistic equation model
  • metapopulation dynamics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

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