How habitat edges change species interactions

William F. Fagan, Robert Cantrell, George Cosner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

419 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Traditionally, ecologists interested in habitat edges have focused on edge-related gradients in patterns of species richness or abiotic variables. Here, however, we take a different perspective, attempting to synthesize recent empirical results concerning the effects of habitat edges on population dynamics with contemporary theoretical developments to outline the ways in which species interactions, and the dynamics of the communities in which they are embedded, can be changed by habitat edges. We find a striking convergence between empirical notions of a patch's core area and analytical results from partial differential equation models. A review of both empirical and theoretical studies suggests four general classes of mechanisms through which habitat edges can have similar impacts on dissimilar types of species interactions. Specifically, we focus on edges' roles as dispersal barriers or filters, edges' influences on mortality, edges' involvement in spatial subsidies (in which dispersers' intrapatch impacts are maintained by their activities in other habitats), and edges' roles as generators of novel interactions. For each class of edge-mediated effects, we provide examples of how one can use spatial modeling to address the relevant questions on these topics, which together form a key link between community dynamics and land scape structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume153
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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edge effects
habitat
subsidies
ecologists
edge effect
community dynamics
theoretical study
population dynamics
species diversity
species richness
filter
mortality
habitats
modeling

Keywords

  • Community dynamics
  • Edge effects
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Landscape structure
  • Partial differential equations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

How habitat edges change species interactions. / Fagan, William F.; Cantrell, Robert; Cosner, George.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 153, No. 2, 1999, p. 165-182.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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