Currents, landscape structure, and recruitment success along a passive–active dispersal gradient

Abstract

There exists a gradient in dispersal behavior from passive to active, which reflects organisms’ dependence upon currents vs. self-propelled movement. We asked: Do currents modify organism–landscape interactions to influence recruitment success along this dispersal gradient? Using a spatially-explicit cellular model, we simulated the recruitment success of three generalized dispersal strategies (walkers, swimmers, and drifters) through hierarchically structured benthic landscapes. We evaluated the relative recruitment success (recruited population size, overall area occupied, time to recruit) of the three dispersal strategies in similar landscapes, as well as the consequences of varying the total proportion of habitat suitable for recruitment, and the scale and pattern of habitat patchiness on recruitment success. In the presence of currents, swimmers and drifters generally recruited over larger areas and in less time than walkers. Differences among the dispersal strategies’ recruitment success were most pronounced when an intermediate number of good habitat cells (16–48% of landscape) were broadly dispersed across the landscape. Although recruitment success always increased with increasing proportion of good habitat, drifters were more sensitive, and swimmers less sensitive, to these landscape changes than walkers. We also found that organisms dispersing within currents typically responded non-linearly (logarithmically or exponentially) to increasing proportion of total good habitat, whereas walkers more often responded linearly.

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Correspondence to C. Ashton Drew.

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Drew, C.A., Eggleston, D.B. Currents, landscape structure, and recruitment success along a passive–active dispersal gradient. Landscape Ecol 21, 917–931 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-005-5568-6

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Keywords

  • Cellular model
  • Dispersal strategy
  • Habitat shifts
  • Hydrodynamic currents
  • Recruitment success