Combining incidence and demographic modelling approaches to evaluate metapopulation parameters for an endangered riparian plant

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Furbish’s lousewort, a Lazarus species, rises from the banks of the Saint John River in Maine. Photo credit: Noah Charney.
Furbish’s lousewort, a Lazarus species, rises from the banks of the Saint John River in Maine. Photo credit: Noah Charney.

Metapopulations are a central concept in ecology and conservation biology, however estimating key parameters such as colonization rates presents a substantial obstacle to modeling metapopulations in many species. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS and designated as an Editor’s Choice paper, Charney and Record used 30 years of data monitoring the federally endangered riparian plant, Furbish’s lousewort, to construct models to estimate how frequently seeds give birth to entire new subpopulations. In these models, they simulated individual plants growing and individual seeds moving along the river where the plants grow. Compared to previous studies of Furbish’s lousewort, the authors found lower estimates for the rate at which subpopulations are born and go extinct. Future researchers may use the computer code Charney and Record provide to simulate dynamics in other species.

Reference

Noah D. Charney, Sydne Record, 2016, 'Combining incidence and demographic modelling approaches to evaluate metapopulation parameters for an endangered riparian plant', AoB Plants, vol. 8, p. plw044 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plw044


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