Populations as Fluid on a Landscape Under Global Environmental Change
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
scale transition theory
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherFRONTIERS MEDIA SA
CitationChesson P and Yang PJ (2019) Populations as Fluid on a Landscape Under Global Environmental Change. Front. Ecol. Evol. 7:363. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00363
Rights© 2019 Chesson and Yang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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AbstractLong-term climate change has been an ever-present feature of the Earth, but in ecology, it has, until recently, been largely ignored outside of paleoecological and dendroecological studies. It is now difficult to ignore due to strong anthropogenic drivers of change. However, standard ecological models and theory have always assumed no long-term trends in the environment, limiting the ability to conceptualize a natural world inescapably influenced by long-term change. Recent theory of asymptotic environmentally determined trajectories (aedts) provides a way forward, but has not previously considered the critical interactions between space and time that are of much importance in understanding ecosystem responses to climate change. Here, this theory is extended to spatial models including long-term environmental change, and is illustrated with simple model examples. Regarding a population as fluid on a landscape allows consideration of how the environment that the population actually experiences changes with time. Here, it is shown that although the environment at any one locality may show strong temporal trends, the environment experienced by a population as it moves around a landscape need not have any strong trends. However, the experienced environment will generally differ by being less favorable on average than without long-term global change. These results suggest theoretical and empirical research programs on the characteristics of landscapes, dispersal, and temporal change affecting the properties of experienced environments. They imply moving away from local population and community thinking to conceptualization and study of populations and communities on multiple spatial and temporal scales. Many standard ecological methods and concepts may still apply to populations tracked as they move on a landscape, while at the same time, understanding is enriched by accounting for how dispersal processes and landscape complexity, interacting with temporal change, affect those moving populations.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Science Foundation (NSF) [DEB-1119784]