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Predicting population responses to environmental change from individual-level mechanisms: towards a standardized mechanistic approach

Johnston, A. S.A., Boyd, R. J., Watson, J. W., Paul, A., Evans, L. C., Gardner, E. and Boult, V. (2019) Predicting population responses to environmental change from individual-level mechanisms: towards a standardized mechanistic approach. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286. 20191916. ISSN 1471-2954

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1916

Abstract/Summary

Animal populations will mediate the response of global biodiversity to environmental changes. Population models are thus important tools for both understanding and predicting animal responses to uncertain future conditions. Most approaches, however, are correlative and ignore the individual-level mechanisms that give rise to population dynamics. Here, we assess several existing population modelling approaches, and find limitations to both ‘correlative’ and ‘mechanistic’ models. We advocate the need for a standardised mechanistic approach for linking individual mechanisms (physiology, behaviour and evolution) to population dynamics in spatially explicit landscapes. Such an approach is potentially more flexible and informative than current population models. Key to realising this goal, however, is overcoming current data limitations, the development and testing of eco-evolutionary theory to represent interactions between individual mechanisms, and standardised multidimensional environmental change scenarios which incorporate multiple stressors. Such progress is essential in supporting environmental decisions in uncertain future conditions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:86654
Publisher:The Royal Society

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