Modelling the effect of habitat fragmentation on range expansion in a butterfly

Author
Wilson Robert J.
Davies Zoe G.
Thomas Chris D.
Keywords
Abstract

There is an increasing need for conservation programmes to make quantitative predictions of biodiversity responses to changed environments. Such predictions will be particularly important to promote species recovery in fragmented landscapes, and to understand and facilitate distribution responses to climate change. Here, we model expansion rates of a test species (a rare butterfly, Hesperia comma) in five landscapes over 18 years (generations), using a metapopulation model (the incidence function model). Expansion rates increased with the area, quality and proximity of habitat patches available for colonization, with predicted expansion rates closely matching observed rates in test landscapes. Habitat fragmentation constrained expansion, but in a predictable way, suggesting that it will prove feasible both to understand variation in expansion rates and to develop conservation programmes to increase rates of range expansion in such species.

Year of Publication
2009
Journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume
276
Issue
1661
Number of Pages
1421-1427
Date Published
04/22/2009
ISBN Number
0962-8452, 1471-2954
URL
Short Title
Proc. R. Soc. B