Using an individual-based model to quantify scale transition in demographic rate functions: Deaths in a coral reef fish

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Scientifically informed population management requires quantitatively accurate demographic rate functions that apply at the spatial scale at which populations are actually managed, but practical constraints confine most field measurements of such functions to small study plots. This paper employs an individual-based population growth model to extrapolate the death rate function in a well-studied coral reef fish, the bridled goby Coryphopterus glaucofraenum, from the scale of 2 m × 2 m coral reef "cells" at which it was measured to the larger scale of an entire coral reef. Density dependence in the whole-reef function actually proves stronger than in the local function because high goby density occasionally arises in local patches with few refuges from predators, producing very high mortality there. This IBM-based approach extends the reach of scale transition theory by examining considerably more realistic models than standard analytical methods can presently handle. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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Ecological Modelling