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Disentangling the role of seed bank and dispersal in plant metapopulation dynamics using patch occupancy surveys

Abstract : In plants, the presence of a seed bank challenges the application of classical metapopulation models to aboveground presence surveys; ignoring seed bank leads to overestimated extinction and colonization rates. In this article, we explore the possibility to detect seed bank using hidden Markov models in the analysis of aboveground patch occupancy surveys of an annual plant with limited dispersal. Patch occupancy data were generated by simulation under two metapopulation sizes (N = 200 and N = 1,000 patches) and different metapopulation scenarios, each scenario being a combination of the presence/absence of a 1-yr seed bank and the presence/absence of limited dispersal in a circular 1-dimension configuration of patches. In addition, because local conditions often vary among patches in natural metapopulations, we simulated patch occupancy data with heterogeneous germination rate and patch disturbance. Seed bank is not observable from aboveground patch occupancy surveys, hence hidden Markov models were designed to account for uncertainty in patch occupancy. We explored their ability to retrieve the correct scenario. For 10 yr surveys and metapopulation sizes of N = 200 or 1,000 patches, the correct metapopulation scenario was detected at a rate close to 100%, whatever the underlying scenario considered. For smaller, more realistic, survey duration, the length for a reliable detection of the correct scenario depends on the metapopulation size: 3 yr for N = 1,000 and 6 yr for N = 200 are enough. Our method remained powerful to disentangle seed bank from dispersal in the presence of patch heterogeneity affecting either seed germination or patch extinction. Our work shows that seed bank and limited dispersal generate different signatures on aboveground patch occupancy surveys. Therefore, our method provides a powerful tool to infer metapopulation dynamics in a wide range of species with an undetectable life form.
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Contributor : Hélène Fréville <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 5:26:00 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 5, 2021 - 3:29:47 AM



Federico Manna, Roger Pradel, Rémi Choquet, Hélène Fréville, Pierre-Olivier Cheptou. Disentangling the role of seed bank and dispersal in plant metapopulation dynamics using patch occupancy surveys. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2017, 98 (10), pp.2662-2672. ⟨10.1002/ecy.1960⟩. ⟨hal-02924171⟩



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