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Multiple density-dependent processes shape the dynamics of a spatially structured amphibian population

Abstract : 1. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the dynamics of spatially structured populations (SSP) is a critical challenge for ecologists and conservation managers. Internal population processes such as births and deaths occur at a local level, while external processes such as dispersal take place at an inter-population level. At both levels, density dependence is expected to play a critical role. At a patch scale, demographic traits (e.g., survival, breeding success) and the population growth rate can be influenced by density either negatively (e.g., competition effect) or positively (e.g., Allee effects). At the scale of an SSP, although positive density-dependent dispersal has been widely reported, an increasing number of studies have highlighted negative density-dependent dispersal. 2. While many studies have investigated the effects of density on population growth or on dispersal, few have simultaneously examined density-dependent effects at the scale of both the local population and the entire SSP. In this study, we examine how density is related to demographic processes at both the pond level (survival and population growth) and the SSP level (between-pond dispersal) in a pondbreeding amphibian, the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). The study was based on 20 years of individual capture–recapture (CR) data (from 1996 to 2015) gathered from an SSP made up of 12 experimental ponds (“patches”). 3. We first used a CR multievent model to estimate both survival and dispersal rates in specific ponds as a function of distance between ponds. Then, using a second CR multievent model, we examined whether survival and recapture rates were influenced by population density in a pond. Lastly, we used state-space time series models to investigate whether density affected population growth in each pond. 4. Our results found a positive density-dependent effect on survival and a negative density-dependent effect on departure. In addition, the findings indicate that population growth was negatively related to density in all 12 ponds. 5. These results support the hypothesis that in SSPs, density may have multiple and contrasting effects on demographic parameters and growth rates within local populations as well as on dispersal. This study underlines the need to better understand how density dependence may influence potential trade-offs between life-history strategies and life-history stages.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 7:43:58 PM
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Hugo Cayuela, Benedikt R. Schmidt, Avril Weinbach, Aurélien Besnard, Pierre Joly. Multiple density-dependent processes shape the dynamics of a spatially structured amphibian population. Journal of Animal Ecology, Wiley, 2019, 88 (1), pp.164-177. ⟨10.1111/1365-2656.12906⟩. ⟨hal-02627267⟩



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