Searching for mechanisms of synchrony in spatially structured gamebird populations

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49 Scopus citations


1. Time series data on five species of gamebird from the Dolomitic Alps were used to examine the relative importance of dispersal and common stochastic events in causing synchrony between spatially structured populations. 2. Cross-correlation analysis of detrended time series was used to describe the spatial pattern of fluctuations in abundance, while standardized time series were used to describe both fluctuations and the trend in abundance. There were large variations in synchrony both within and between species and only weak negative relationships with distance. 3. Species in neighboring habitats were more likely to be in synchrony than species separated by several habitats. Species with similar density-dependent structure were more likely to be in synchrony. 4. In order to estimate the relative importance of dispersal and environmental stochasticity, we modelled the spatial dynamics of each species using two different approaches. First, we used estimating functions and bootstrapping of time series data to calculate the relative importance of dispersal and stochastic effects for each species. Second, we estimated the intensity of environmental stochasticity from climatic records during the breeding season and then modelled the dispersal rate and dispersal distance for each species. The two models exhibited similar results for rock ptarmigan, black grouse, hazel grouse and rock partridge, while contrasting patterns were observed for capercaillie. 5. The results suggest that environmental stochasticity plays the dominant role in synchronizing the fluctuations of these galliform species, although there will also be some dispersal between populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-638
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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