Long-term demographic surveys reveal a consistent relationship between average occupancy and abundance within local populations of a butterfly metapopulation

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Schulz , T , Vanhatalo , J & Saastamoinen , M 2019 , ' Long-term demographic surveys reveal a consistent relationship between average occupancy and abundance within local populations of a butterfly metapopulation ' , Ecography , vol. 43 , no. 2 , pp. 306-317 . https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04799

Title: Long-term demographic surveys reveal a consistent relationship between average occupancy and abundance within local populations of a butterfly metapopulation
Author: Schulz, Torsti; Vanhatalo, Jarno; Saastamoinen, Marjo
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Research Centre for Ecological Change
University of Helsinki, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE





Date: 2019-10-22
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Ecography
ISSN: 0906-7590
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04799
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/306996
Abstract: Species distribution models are the tool of choice for large-scale population monitoring, environmental association studies and predictions of range shifts under future environmental conditions. Available data and familiarity of the tools rather than the underlying population dynamics often dictate the choice of specific method - especially for the case of presence-absence data. Yet, for predictive purposes, the relationship between occupancy and abundance embodied in the models should reflect the actual population dynamics of the modelled species. To understand the relationship of occupancy and abundance in a heterogeneous landscape at the scale of local populations, we built a spatio-temporal regression model of populations of the Glanville fritillary butterfly Melitaea cinxia in a Baltic Sea archipelago. Our data comprised nineteen years of habitat surveys and snapshot data of land use in the region. We used variance partitioning to quantify relative contributions of land use, habitat quality and metapopulation covariates. The model revealed a consistent and positive, but noisy relationship between average occupancy and mean abundance in local populations. Patterns of abundance were highly variable across years, with large uncorrelated random variation and strong local population stochasticity. In contrast, the spatio-temporal random effect, habitat quality, population connectivity and patch size explained variation in occupancy, vindicating metapopulation theory as the basis for modelling occupancy patterns in fragmented landscapes. Previous abundance was an important predictor in the occupancy model, which points to a spillover of abundance into occupancy dynamics. While occupancy models can successfully model large-scale population structure and average occupancy, extinction probability estimates for local populations derived from occupancy-only models are overconfident, as extinction risk is dependent on actual, not average, abundance.
Subject: analysis of variance
habitat quality
landscape ecology
metapopulation ecology
occupancy-abundance relationship
species distribution modeling
SPATIAL-DISTRIBUTION
HABITAT SUITABILITY
MODELS
DYNAMICS
DENSITY
PERSISTENCE
MIGRATION
PATTERNS
DECLINE
QUALITY
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
111 Mathematics
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