Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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The emergence of the rescue effect from explicit within- and between-patch dynamics in a metapopulation

Anders Eriksson

Anders Eriksson

Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK

Integrative Systems Biology Laboratory, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Federico Elías-Wolff

Federico Elías-Wolff

Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg 41296, Sweden

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Bernhard Mehlig

Bernhard Mehlig

Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg 41296, Sweden

Centre for Evolutionary Marine Biology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Andrea Manica

Andrea Manica

Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK

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    Immigration can rescue local populations from extinction, helping to stabilize a metapopulation. Local population dynamics is important for determining the strength of this rescue effect, but the mechanistic link between local demographic parameters and the rescue effect at the metapopulation level has received very little attention by modellers. We develop an analytical framework that allows us to describe the emergence of the rescue effect from interacting local stochastic dynamics. We show this framework to be applicable to a wide range of spatial scales, providing a powerful and convenient alternative to individual-based models for making predictions concerning the fate of metapopulations. We show that the rescue effect plays an important role in minimizing the increase in local extinction probability associated with high demographic stochasticity, but its role is more limited in the case of high local environmental stochasticity of recruitment or survival. While most models postulate the rescue effect, our framework provides an explicit mechanistic link between local dynamics and the emergence of the rescue effect, and more generally the stability of the whole metapopulation.

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