Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0022355
Title (Primary) Breaking functional connectivity into components: a novel approach using an individual-based model, and first outcomes
Author Pe'er, G.; Henle, K.; Dislich, C.; Frank, K. ORCID logo
Source Titel PLoS ONE
Year 2011
Department OESA; NSF
Volume 6
Issue 8
Page From e22355
Language englisch

Landscape connectivity is a key factor determining the viability of populations in fragmented landscapes. Predicting ‘functional connectivity’, namely whether a patch or a landscape functions as connected from the perspective of a focal species, poses various challenges. First, empirical data on the movement behaviour of species is often scarce. Second, animal-landscape interactions are bound to yield complex patterns. Lastly, functional connectivity involves various components that are rarely assessed separately. We introduce the spatially explicit, individual-based model FunCon as means to distinguish between components of functional connectivity and to assess how each of them affects the sensitivity of species and communities to landscape structures. We then present the results of exploratory simulations over six landscapes of different fragmentation levels and across a range of hypothetical bird species that differ in their response to habitat edges. i) Our results demonstrate that estimations of functional connectivity depend not only on the response of species to edges (avoidance versus penetration into the matrix), the movement mode investigated (home range movements versus dispersal), and the way in which the matrix is being crossed (random walk versus gap crossing), but also on the choice of connectivity measure (in this case, the model output examined). ii) We further show a strong effect of the mortality scenario applied, indicating that movement decisions that do not fully match the mortality risks are likely to reduce connectivity and enhance sensitivity to fragmentation. iii) Despite these complexities, some consistent patterns emerged. For instance, the ranking order of landscapes in terms of functional connectivity was mostly consistent across the entire range of hypothetical species, indicating that simple landscape indices can potentially serve as valuable surrogates for functional connectivity. Yet such simplifications must be carefully evaluated in terms of the components of functional connectivity they actually predict.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Pe'er, G., Henle, K., Dislich, C., Frank, K. (2011):
Breaking functional connectivity into components: a novel approach using an individual-based model, and first outcomes
PLoS One 6 (8), e22355 10.1371/journal.pone.0022355