Scale-Dependence of habitat sources and sinks

Jeffrey M. Diez, Itamar Giladi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Studies of population dynamics are necessarily contingent on scale, both spatial and temporal extent and grain of study. Observed population dynamics may vary across scales, and different processes may drive these patterns at different scales. Habitat sources and sinks are driven by variation in demographic vital rates such as survival, growth, and reproduction, which often vary widely across spatial and temporal scales. The knowledge that patterns may vary across scales, and different driving variables may be relevant at different scales, is intuitive to ecologists. Merging this awareness of scale with quantitative studies of population dynamics has proven difficult, however. The overall aims of this chapter are to show how scale has influenced studies of source–sink dynamics, and to highlight an emerging statistical approach for better quantifying population dynamics at different scales. After a brief review of how issues of scale are central to understanding source–sink dynamics, we show how hierarchical models can help quantify demographic variation across different scales and make predictions for sparsely populated sites. We use a brief case study of the demography of a forest herb, Hexastylis arifolia (“little brown jug”), to highlight how demographic rates and predicted population growth rates may be quantified at different scales. We conclude with a discussion of important extensions to this work, including the incorporation of dispersal, and the possible implications of scale for assessments of source–sink dynamics.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationSources, Sinks and Sustainability
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780511842399
ISBN (Print)9780521199476
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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