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Colour of environmental noise affects the nonlinear dynamics of cycling, stage-structured populations.

Authors
  • Reuman, Daniel C
  • Costantino, Robert F
  • Desharnais, Robert A
  • Cohen, Joel E
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ecology Letters
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2008
Volume
11
Issue
8
Pages
820–830
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01194.x
PMID: 18479454
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Populations fluctuate because of their internal dynamics, which can be nonlinear and stochastic, and in response to environmental variation. Theory predicts how the colour of environmental stochasticity affects population means, variances and correlations with the environment over time. The theory has not been tested for cycling populations, commonly observed in field systems. We applied noise of different colours to cycling laboratory beetle populations, holding other statistical properties of the noise fixed. Theory was largely validated, but failed to predict observations in sufficient detail. The main period of population cycling was shifted up to 33% by the colour of environmental stochasticity. Noise colour affected population means, variances and dominant periodicities differently for populations that cycled in different ways without noise. Our results show that changes in the colour of climatic variability, partly caused by humans, may affect the main periodicity of cycling populations, possibly impacting industry, pest management and conservation.

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