Slide 5 of 25
The third scale is that of connectivity among pools. If vernal pool amphibians have discrete populations centered on each pool, if dispersal rates among pools are low but nonzero, if populations are subject to occasional natural extinctions, and if population fluctuations are asynchronous, then these populations may have a metapopulation structure. Lloyd Gamble from our lab will talk about this tomorrow during the vernal pool session.
If vernal pool amphibians do show metapopulation structure, then populations will require recolonizations from nearby pools to ensure the long-term viability of metapopulations. Thus, we can protect pools and sufficient upland habitat around pools, but if connections among pools are lost, we’ll lose these metapopulations over the long term.
Connectivity among pools is difficult to measure empirically at a scale meaningful for conservation, so we turned to a modeling approach.