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Component and ensemble density feedbacks decoupled by density-independent processes
  • Corey Bradshaw,
  • Salvador Herrando-Pérez
Corey Bradshaw
Flinders University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Salvador Herrando-Pérez
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
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Analysis of long-term trends in abundance provide insights into population dynamics. Population growth rates are the emergent interplay of fertility, survival, and dispersal, but the density feedbacks on some vital rates (component) can be decoupled from density feedback on population growth rates (ensemble). However, the mechanisms responsible for this decoupling are poorly understood. We simulated component density feedbacks on survival in age-structured populations of long-living vertebrates and quantified how imposed nonstationarity (density-independent mortality and variation in carrying-capacity) modified the ensemble feedback signal estimated from logistic-growth models to the simulated abundance time series. The statistical detection of ensemble density feedback was largely unaffected by density-independent processes, but catastrophic and proportional mortality eroded the effect of density-dependent survival on ensemble-feedback strength more strongly than variation in carrying capacity. Thus, phenomenological models offer a robust approach to capture density feedbacks from nonstationary census data when density-independent mortality is low.