You are studying a rare lizard species that occurs on granite outcrops in the wheat belt. What information would you need to know to determine whether this species was distributed as a metapopulation or not? If it does or does not occur as a metapopulation how might this effect consideration of its management?. Ecology

Factors which indicate a population is a metapopulation:

  • When a species is divided into small populations because of patchy habitats, the small populations are collectively metapopulations
  • Metapopulations are often distributed islands which are separated by a sea of unsuitable habitat
  • You would need to know:

o The size of the habitat area

o Population size of the lizard

o Whether the lizards emigrate (to other metapopulations)

o Whether it is a sink or source (reproductively).

  • To do this you must measure reproduction and mortality rates and movements between a whole set of local populations
  • Can measure adult survival, juvenile survival and fecundity

If the lizard did exist as a metapopulation then management would be made so as to protect the lizard, especially if it already is a source of reproductive effort. If the lizard was a sink, then perhaps efforts would be made to try and make it a sink, such as increased protection, although this is less likely. Things which may be done:

  • Stop removal of habitat
  • Create protected areas
  • Increase awareness
  • Legislation
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