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Modeling population connectivity to predict stability

Natural populations of organisms are always fluctuating, both due to the environment, and interactions with other populations and species, and ecological modeling provides a powerful took to help wildlife and resource managers predict the fluctuations of populations of economically or ecologically valuable species. A new study recently published in the journal Theoretical Ecology, by MSC PhD student Diana Townsend and Associate Professor Tarik Gouhier, showed that modeling the movement of individuals between populations with varying levels of dispersal among species, affects how these populations synchronize with each other, which in turn affects their stability. Understanding the complex relationship between dispersal, synchrony, and stability is critical for employing conservation tools that focus on maximizing the connectivity of populations of mobile species, in order to promote persistence.

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