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Population and individual-scale responses to patch size, isolation and quality in the hazel dormouse

Mortelliti, Alessio, Sozio, Giulia, Driscoll, Don A., Bani, Luciano, Boitani, Luigi and Lindenmayer, David B. 2014, Population and individual-scale responses to patch size, isolation and quality in the hazel dormouse, Ecosphere, vol. 5, no. 9, pp. 1-21, doi: 10.1890/ES14-00115.1.

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Title Population and individual-scale responses to patch size, isolation and quality in the hazel dormouse
Author(s) Mortelliti, Alessio
Sozio, Giulia
Driscoll, Don A.ORCID iD for Driscoll, Don A. orcid.org/0000-0002-1560-5235
Bani, Luciano
Boitani, Luigi
Lindenmayer, David B.
Journal name Ecosphere
Volume number 5
Issue number 9
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Place of publication Washington, D.C.
Publication date 2014-09
ISSN 2150-8925
Keyword(s) central Italy
demography
habitat loss and fragmentation
habitat quality
landscape change
muscardinus avellanarius
occupancy
patch isolation
patch quality
patch size
population ecology
survival
Summary Patch size, isolation and quality are key factors influencing species persistence in fragmented landscapes. However, we still lack a detailed understanding of how these variables exert their effects on populations inhabiting fragmented landscapes. At which ecological scale do they have an effect (e.g., individuals versus populations) and, on which demographic parameters? Answering these questions will identify the mechanisms that underlie population turnover rather than solely predicting it based on proxies (e.g., presence/absence data). We report the results of a large-scale, three-year study focused on the relative effects of patch size, isolation and quality on individuals and populations of an arboreal rodent, the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius). We examined 30 sites nested within three landscapes characterized by contrasting levels of habitat amount and habitat quality (food resources). We quantified the effects of patch size and quality on the response of individuals (survival and litter size) and populations (density and colonization/extinction dynamics). We identified demographic mechanisms which led to population turnover. Habitat quality positively affected survival (not litter size) and population density (measured through an index). We infer that the decline in survival due to patch quality reduced patch recolonization rather than increasing extinction, while extinction was mainly affected by patch size. Our findings suggest that the effect of patch quality on individual and population parameters was constrained by the physical structure of the surrounding landscapes. At the same time, our results highlight the importance of preserving habitat quality to help the persistence of entire systems of patches.
Language eng
DOI 10.1890/ES14-00115.1
Field of Research 050205 Environmental Management
050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl Bioremediation)
0501 Ecological Applications
0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30078615

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.