Temporal variation in the synchrony of weather and its consequences for spatiotemporal population dynamics
- Download PDF (1.0 MB)
- This publication is available only online.
Over large areas, synchronous fluctuations in population density are often attributed to environmental stochasticity (e.g., weather) shared among local populations. This concept was first advanced by Patrick Moran who showed, based on several assumptions, that long-term population synchrony will equal the synchrony of environmental stochasticity among locations. We examine the consequences of violating one of Moran's assumptions, namely that environmental synchrony is constant through time. We demonstrate that the synchrony of weather conditions from regions across the United States varied considerably from 1895 to 2010. Using a simulation model modified from Moran’s original study, we show that temporal variation in environmental synchrony can cause changes in population synchrony, which in turn can temporarily increase or decrease the amplitude of regional-scale population fluctuations. A case study using the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) provides empirical support for these predictions. This study provides theoretical and empirical evidence that temporal variation in environmental synchrony can be used to identify factors that synchronize population fluctuations and highlights a previously underappreciated cause of variability in population dynamics.
Keywordsgypsy moth; Lymantria dispar; Moran effect; periodicity; population model; regional stochasticity; spatial coherence; spatial synchrony; wavelet analysis; wavelet coherence
Allstadt, Andrew J.; Liebhold, Andrew M.; Johnson, Derek M.; Davis, Robert E.; Haynes, Kyle J. 2015. Temporal variation in the synchrony of weather and its consequences for spatiotemporal population dynamics. Ecology. 96(11): 2935-2946. https://doi.org/10.1890/14-1497.1.