A spatially structured metapopulation model with patch dynamics

Dashun Xu, Zhilan Feng, Linda J.S. Allen, Robert K. Swihart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Metapopulation models that incorporate both spatial and temporal structure are studied in this paper. The existence and stability of equilibria are provided, and an extinction threshold condition is derived which depends on patch dynamics (patch destruction and creation) and metapopulation dynamics (patch colonization and extinction). These results refine threshold conditions given by previous metapopulation models. By comparing landscapes with different spatial heterogeneities with respect to weighted long-term patch occupancies, we conclude that the pattern of a landscape is of overwhelming importance in determining metapopulation persistence and patch occupancy. We show that the same conclusion holds when a rescue effect is considered. We also derive a stochastic differential equations (SDE) model of the Itô type based on our deterministic model. Our simulations reveal good agreement between the deterministic model and the SDE model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2006


  • Fragmentation
  • Metapopulation models
  • Patch dynamics
  • Persistence
  • Spatially realistic models


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