Range structure analysis: unveiling the internal structure of species’ ranges
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- Samaniego, H. & Marquet, P.A. Theor Ecol (2013) 6: 419. doi:10.1007/s12080-013-0177-5
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Assessing risks of local extinction and shifts in species ranges are fundamental tasks in ecology and conservation. Most studies have focused either on the border of species’ range or on complex spatiotemporal dynamics of populations within the spatial distribution of species. The internal properties of species ranges, however, have received less attention due to a general lack of simple tools. We propose a novel approach within a metapopulation framework to study species ranges based on simple mathematical rules. We formulate and test a model of population fluctuations through space to identify key factors that regulate population density. We propose that spatial variability in species abundance reflects the interaction between temporal variability in population dynamics and the spatial variability of population parameters. This approach, that we call range structure analysis, integrates temporal and spatial properties to diagnose how each parameter contributes to species occupancy throughout its geographic range.