Towards a unified framework for connectivity that disentangles movement and mortality in space and time

Robert J. Fletcher, Jorge Sefair, Chao Wang, Caroline L. Poli, Thomas A.H. Smith, Emilio M. Bruna, Robert D. Holt, Michael Barfield, Andrew J. Marx, Miguel A. Acevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Predicting connectivity, or how landscapes alter movement, is essential for understanding the scope for species persistence with environmental change. Although it is well known that movement is risky, connectivity modelling often conflates behavioural responses to the matrix through which animals disperse with mortality risk. We derive new connectivity models using random walk theory, based on the concept of spatial absorbing Markov chains. These models decompose the role of matrix on movement behaviour and mortality risk, can incorporate species distribution to predict the amount of flow, and provide both short- and long-term analytical solutions for multiple connectivity metrics. We validate the framework using data on movement of an insect herbivore in 15 experimental landscapes. Our results demonstrate that disentangling the roles of movement behaviour and mortality risk is fundamental to accurately interpreting landscape connectivity, and that spatial absorbing Markov chains provide a generalisable and powerful framework with which to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1689
Number of pages10
JournalEcology letters
Volume22
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Fingerprint

space and time
connectivity
mortality risk
mortality
Markov chain
herbivores
biogeography
matrix
behavioral response
insects
herbivore
environmental change
persistence
insect
animals
animal
modeling

Keywords

  • Circuit theory
  • dispersal
  • fragmentation
  • habitat loss
  • least cost
  • Markov chain
  • matrix effects
  • networks
  • random walk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Fletcher, R. J., Sefair, J., Wang, C., Poli, C. L., Smith, T. A. H., Bruna, E. M., ... Acevedo, M. A. (2019). Towards a unified framework for connectivity that disentangles movement and mortality in space and time. Ecology letters, 22(10), 1680-1689. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13333

Towards a unified framework for connectivity that disentangles movement and mortality in space and time. / Fletcher, Robert J.; Sefair, Jorge; Wang, Chao; Poli, Caroline L.; Smith, Thomas A.H.; Bruna, Emilio M.; Holt, Robert D.; Barfield, Michael; Marx, Andrew J.; Acevedo, Miguel A.

In: Ecology letters, Vol. 22, No. 10, 01.10.2019, p. 1680-1689.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fletcher, RJ, Sefair, J, Wang, C, Poli, CL, Smith, TAH, Bruna, EM, Holt, RD, Barfield, M, Marx, AJ & Acevedo, MA 2019, 'Towards a unified framework for connectivity that disentangles movement and mortality in space and time', Ecology letters, vol. 22, no. 10, pp. 1680-1689. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13333
Fletcher, Robert J. ; Sefair, Jorge ; Wang, Chao ; Poli, Caroline L. ; Smith, Thomas A.H. ; Bruna, Emilio M. ; Holt, Robert D. ; Barfield, Michael ; Marx, Andrew J. ; Acevedo, Miguel A. / Towards a unified framework for connectivity that disentangles movement and mortality in space and time. In: Ecology letters. 2019 ; Vol. 22, No. 10. pp. 1680-1689.
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