Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 399–411 | Cite as

Habitat selection, interspecific interactions and landscape composition

  • Brent J. Danielson


I argue here that, from the perspective of any individual, most landscapes are composed of only three basic types of habitats. These are: (1) source habitat in which reproduction exceeds mortality and the expected per capita growth rate is greater than one; (2) sink habitat, in which limited, reproduction is possible but will not on average, compensate for mortality and the per capita rate of growth is between zero and one; and (3) unusable habitat, which comprises the matrix of all habitats that are never exploited by the species in question, and in which patches of source and sink habitats are embedded. Unlike earlier source-sink models, this model explicitly considers the effects that substituting one type of habitat for another has on the equilibrium size of a population and the interactions between species which can use both source and sink habitats. The model demonstrates that the equilibrium size of a species' population can sometimes be increased by substituting unusable habitat for sink habitat. Thus, even though the average patch quality in the landscape may be decreased, the overall quality of the landscape can increase. For two species with distinct habitat preferences, interactions between species can vary qualitatively as well as quantitatively as a function of the relative abundances of each of the habitat types. The model also shows that the interactions between species are particularly sensitive to the relative costs of moving between patches and sampling patches to determine their quality. Recent fragmentation of natural landscapes may increase the cost of searching for usable (source or sink) patches. Under some conditions, the interspecific interactions may be substantially more negative (competitive) than the interactions that evolved in the original natural landscape, further reducing population sizes and increasing the likelihood of competitive exclusion in fragmented modern landscapes.


dispersal community structure fragmentation habitat selection landscape composition landscape matrix population dynamics source-sink model 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arcese, P. (1987) Age, intrusion pressure and defence against floaters by territorial male song sparrows.Anim. Behav. 35, 773–85.Google Scholar
  2. Beletsky, L. D. and Orians, G. H. (1987) Territoriality among male red-winged blackbirds II. Removal experiments and site dominance.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 20, 339–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowers, M. A. and Dooley, J. L. (1991) Landscape composition and the intensity and outcome of two-species competition.Oikos 60, 180–86.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, J. L. (1969) The buffer effect and productivity in tit populations.Am. Nat. 103, 347–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, W. E. Jr. and Vitt, L. J. (1987) Deferred agonistic behavior in a long-lived scincid lizardEumeces laticeps. Field and laboratory data on the roles of body size and residence in, agonistic strategy.Oecologia 72, 321–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Danielson, B. J. (1991) Communities on a landscape: the influence of habitat heterogeneity on the interactions between species.Am. Nat. 138, 1105–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Danielson, B. J. and Gaines, M. S. (1987) The influences of conspecific and heterospecific residents on colonization.Ecology 68, 1778–84.Google Scholar
  8. Dunning, J. B., Danielson, B. J. and Pulliam, H. R. (1992) Ecological processes that affect populations in complex landscapes. (Oikos (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Eden, S. F. (1987) Dispersal and competitive ability in the magpie: an experimental study.Anim. Behav. 35, 764–72.Google Scholar
  10. Fretwell, S. D. and Lucas, H. L. (1970) On territorial behaviour and other factors influencing habitat distribution in birds.Acta Biotheor. 19, 16–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gleason, P. E., Michael, S. D. and Christian, J. J. (1980) Aggressive behavior during the reproductive cycle of femalePeromyscus leucopus: effects of encounter site.Behav. and Neurol. Biol. 29, 506–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grant, P. R. (1972) Interspecific competition among rodents.Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 3, 29–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hammerstein, P. (1981) The role of asymmetries in animal contests.Anim. Behav. 29, 193–205.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, M. L. and Gaines, M. S. (1990) Evolution of dispersal: theoretical models and empirical tests using birds and mammals.Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 21, 449–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Metzgar, L. H. (1967) An experimental comparison of screech owl predation on resident and transient white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus).J. Mamm. 48, 387–91.Google Scholar
  16. Morris, D. W. (1992) Habitat selection and patch size in heterogeneous prairie landscapes.Evol. Ecol. 6, 412–32.Google Scholar
  17. Morris, D. W. (1988) Habitat-dependent population regulation and community structure.Evol. Ecol. 2, 253–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Morris, R. D. (1969) Competitive exclusion betweenMicrotus andClethrionomys in the aspen parkland of Saskatchewan.J. Mamm. 50 291–301.Google Scholar
  19. Pimm, S. L. and Rosenzweig, M. L. (1981) Competitors and habitat use.Oikos 37, 1–6.Google Scholar
  20. Pulliam, H. R. (1988) Sources, sinks, and population regulation.Am. Nat. 132, 652–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pulliam, H. R. and Danielson, B. J. (1991) Sources, sinks, and habitat selection: a landscape perspective on population dynamics.Am. Nat. 137, S50-S66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rosenzweig, M. L. (1981) A theory of habitat selection.Ecology 62, 327–35.Google Scholar
  23. Rosenzweig, M. L. (1985) Some theoretical aspects of habitat selection. InHabitat Selection in Birds, pp. 517–40. Academic Press, London, UK.Google Scholar
  24. Smith, S. M. (1978) The ‘underworld’ in a territorial tree sparrow: adaptive strategy for floaters.Am. Nat. 112, 571–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Van Horne, B. (1983) Density as a misleading indicator of habitat quality.J. Wildl. Management 47, 893–901.Google Scholar
  26. Wolff, J. O., Freeburg, M. H., and Dueser, R. D. (1983) Interspecific territoriality in two species ofPeromyscus (Rodentia: Cricetidae).Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 12, 237–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent J. Danielson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary EcologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations