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Synchrony in population counts predicts butterfly movement frequencies

Oliver, T., Powney, G. D., Baguette, M. and Schtickzelle, N. (2017) Synchrony in population counts predicts butterfly movement frequencies. Ecological Entomology, 42 (3). pp. 375-378. ISSN 0307-6946

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/een.12391


Measuring functional connectivity, the ability of species to move between resource patches, is essential for conservation in fragmented landscapes. However, current methods are highly time consuming and expensive. Population synchrony- the correlation in time series of counts between two long-term population monitoring sites, has been suggested as a possible proxy measure of functional connectivity. To date, population synchrony has been shown to correlate with proxies for movement frequency such as the coverage of suitable habitat types in intervening landscapes, and also least cost distances around hostile land cover types. This provides tentative evidence that synchrony is directly driven by movements of the focal species, but an alternative explanation is that these land cover types affect the movement of interacting species (e.g. natural enemies of the focal species) which can also drive synchronous population dynamics. Therefore, what is needed is a test directly relating population synchrony to movement frequencies of a focal species. Here we use data from a 21 year mark-release-recapture study and show that population synchrony does indeed predict movements of a focal butterfly species Boloria eunomia (Esper). There is growing evidence that population synchrony can be a useful conservation tool to measure functional connectivity.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:69866

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