Spatial scale and movement behaviour traits control the impacts of habitat fragmentation on individual fitness

Cattarino, Lorenzo, McAlpine, Clive A. and Rhodes, Jonathan R. (2016) Spatial scale and movement behaviour traits control the impacts of habitat fragmentation on individual fitness. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85 1: 168-177. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12427


Author Cattarino, Lorenzo
McAlpine, Clive A.
Rhodes, Jonathan R.
Title Spatial scale and movement behaviour traits control the impacts of habitat fragmentation on individual fitness
Journal name Journal of Animal Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2656
0021-8790
Publication date 2016-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1365-2656.12427
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 85
Issue 1
Start page 168
End page 177
Total pages 10
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
1. Habitat fragmentation, that is the breaking apart of habitat, can occur at multiple spatial scales at the same time, as a result of different land uses. Individuals of most species spend different amounts of times moving in different modes, during which they cover different distances and experience different fitness impacts. The scale at which fragmentation occurs interacts with the distance that individuals move in a particular mode to affect an individual's ability to find habitat. However, there is little knowledge of the fitness consequences of different scales of fragmentation for individuals with different traits of movement behaviour. This is critical to understand the mechanisms of persistence of different species in fragmented landscapes.
2. The aim of this study was to quantify the impacts of habitat fragmentation at different scales on the fitness components (reproduction and survival) of individuals with different traits of movement behaviour.
3. We developed a demographic model of individuals that adopt short and tortuous movements within foraging areas (foraging mode) and long and straight movements between foraging areas (searching mode). We considered individuals that adopt different movement modes with varying frequencies, inherently move different searching distances and experience different risks of mortality during searching. We then applied the model within a spatially explicit simulation framework where we varied simultaneously the degree of fragmentation within (fine scale) and between foraging areas (coarse scale).
4. Fine-scale fragmentation had a greater impact on reproduction and survival than coarse-scale fragmentation, for those individuals with a low searching propensity. The impact of fine-scale fragmentation on reproduction and survival interacted with the impact of coarse-scale fragmentation on reproduction and survival, to affect the fitness of individuals with a high searching propensity, large inherent searching distances and high searching mortality rates. Habitat selection strongly mitigated the impact of the scale at which fragmentation occurred on individual fitness.
5. Our findings suggest that the land use to target with conservation actions to reduce fragmentation, such as financial schemes that promote re-vegetation or retention of standing vegetation, depends on the scale at which fragmentation occurs and the movement behaviour traits of the species of conservation concern.
Keyword Foraging
Habitat selection
Land-use management
Lifetime reproductive success
Movement modes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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