Interactions between demography and environmental effects are important determinants of population dynamics

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Science Advances  01 Feb 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 2, e1602298
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602298

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Climate change will affect the population dynamics of many species, yet the consequences for the long-term persistence of populations are poorly understood. A major reason for this is that density-dependent feedback effects caused by fluctuations in population size are considered independent of stochastic variation in the environment. We show that an interplay between winter temperature and population density can influence the persistence of a small passerine population under global warming. Although warmer winters favor an increased mean population size, density-dependent feedback can cause the local population to be less buffered against occasional poor environmental conditions (cold winters). This shows that it is essential to go beyond the population size and explore climate effects on the full dynamics to elaborate targeted management actions.

  • Dipper
  • population dynamics
  • warming
  • environmental stochasticity
  • density dependence
  • immigration

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