Effects of Demographic Stochasticity on Population Persistence in Advective Media
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Effects of Demographic Stochasticity on Population Persistence in Advective Media


Many populations live and disperse in advective media. A fundamental question, known as the “drift paradox” in stream ecology, is how a closed population can survive when it is constantly being transported downstream by the flow. Recent population-level models have focused on the role of diffusive movement in balancing the effects of advection, predicting critical conditions for persistence. Here, we formulate an individual-based stochastic analog of the model described in (Lutscher et al., SIAM Rev. 47(4):749–772, 2005) to quantify the effects of demographic stochasticity on persistence. Population dynamics are modeled as a logistic growth process and dispersal as a position-jump process on a finite domain divided into patches. When there is no correlation in the interpatch movement of residents, stochasticity simply smooths the persistence-extinction boundary. However, when individuals disperse in “packets” from one patch to another and the flow field is memoryless on the timescale of packet transport, the probability of persistence is greatly enhanced. The latter transport mechanism may be characteristic of larval dispersal in the coastal ocean or wind-dispersed seed pods.

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