O.N. Bjørnstad R.A. Ims and X. Lambin: Spatial population dynamics: Analyzing patterns and processes of population synchrony

Trends in Ecology and Evolution (1999) 14:427-431.


The search for mechanisms behind spatial population synchrony is currently a major issue in population ecology. Theoretical studies highlight how synchronizing mechanisms such as dispersal, regionally correlated climatic variables, and mobile enemies may interact with local dynamics to produce different patterns of spatial covariance. Specialized statistical methods applied to large-scale survey data aid in confronting the theoretical predictions with empirical estimates. Observational studies and experiments on the demography of local populations are paramount to identify the true ecological mechanisms. The recent achievements illustrate the power of combining theory, observation/experimentation, and statistical modeling in the ecological research protocol.

Key words: correlogram, coupled map lattice, dispersal, population synchrony, Moran effect, reaction-diffusion, spatial covariance functions, travelling waves, study design, survey sampling