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  Subjects -> ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (Total: 752 journals)
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ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (679 journals)

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Journal Cover Theoretical Ecology
  [SJR: 1.255]   [H-I: 19]   [9 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1874-1746 - ISSN (Online) 1874-1738
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2335 journals]
  • The “edge effect” phenomenon: deriving population abundance patterns
           from individual animal movement decisions
    • Authors: Jonathan R. Potts; Thomas Hillen; Mark A. Lewis
      Pages: 233 - 247
      Abstract: Abstract Edge effects have been observed in a vast spectrum of animal populations. They occur where two conjoining habitats interact to create ecological phenomena that are not present in either habitat separately. On the individual-level, an edge effect is a change in behavioral tendency on or near the edge. On the population-level, it is a pattern of population abundance near an edge that cannot be explained in terms of either habitat in isolation. That these two levels of description exist suggests there ought to be a mathematical link between them. Here, we make inroads into providing such a link, deriving analytic expressions describing oft-observed population abundance patterns from a model of movement decisions near edges. Depending on the model parameters, we can see positive, negative, or transitional edge effects emerge. Importantly, the distance over which animals make their decisions to move between habitats turns out to be a key factor in quantifying the magnitude of certain observed edge effects.
      PubDate: 2016-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0283-7
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2016)
       
  • Erratum to: Sensitivity analysis of continuous-time models for ecological
           and evolutionary theories
    • Authors: Romain Richard; Jérôme Casas; Edward McCauley
      Pages: 249 - 249
      PubDate: 2016-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0280-x
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2016)
       
  • Approximation of a physiologically structured population model with
           seasonal reproduction by a stage-structured biomass model
    • Authors: Floor H. Soudijn; André M. de Roos
      Abstract: Abstract Seasonal reproduction causes, due to the periodic inflow of young small individuals in the population, seasonal fluctuations in population size distributions. Seasonal reproduction furthermore implies that the energetic body condition of reproducing individuals varies over time. Through these mechanisms, seasonal reproduction likely affects population and community dynamics. While seasonal reproduction is often incorporated in population models using discrete time equations, these are not suitable for size-structured populations in which individuals grow continuously between reproductive events. Size-structured population models that consider seasonal reproduction, an explicit growing season and individual-level energetic processes exist in the form of physiologically structured population models. However, modeling large species ensembles with these models is virtually impossible. In this study, we therefore develop a simpler model framework by approximating a cohort-based size-structured population model with seasonal reproduction to a stage-structured biomass model of four ODEs. The model translates individual-level assumptions about food ingestion, bioenergetics, growth, investment in reproduction, storage of reproductive energy, and seasonal reproduction in stage-based processes at the population level. Numerical analysis of the two models shows similar values for the average biomass of juveniles, adults, and resource unless large-amplitude cycles with a single cohort dominating the population occur. The model framework can be extended by adding species or multiple juvenile and/or adult stages. This opens up possibilities to investigate population dynamics of interacting species while incorporating ontogenetic development and complex life histories in combination with seasonal reproduction.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0309-9
       
  • The dynamics of coupled populations subject to control
    • Authors: Stephanie J. Peacock; Andrew W. Bateman; Martin Krkošek; Mark A. Lewis
      Abstract: Abstract The dynamics of coupled populations have mostly been studied in the context of metapopulation viability with application to, for example, species at risk. However, when considering pests and pathogens, eradication, not persistence, is often the end goal. Humans may intervene to control nuisance populations, resulting in reciprocal interactions between the human and natural systems that can lead to unexpected dynamics. The incidence of these human-natural couplings has been increasing, hastening the need to better understand the emergent properties of such systems in order to predict and manage outbreaks of pests and pathogens. For example, the success of the growing aquaculture industry depends on our ability to manage pathogens and maintain a healthy environment for farmed and wild fish. We developed a model for the dynamics of connected populations subject to control, motivated by sea louse parasites that can disperse among salmon farms. The model includes exponential population growth with a forced decline when populations reach a threshold, representing control interventions. Coupling two populations with equal growth rates resulted in phase locking or synchrony in their dynamics. Populations with different growth rates had different periods of oscillation, leading to quasiperiodic dynamics when coupled. Adding small amounts of stochasticity destabilized quasiperiodic cycles to chaos, while stochasticity was damped for periodic or stable dynamics. Our analysis suggests that strict treatment thresholds, although well intended, can complicate parasite dynamics and hinder control efforts. Synchronizing populations via coordinated management among farms leads to more effective control that is required less frequently. Our model is simple and generally applicable to other systems where dispersal affects the management of pests and pathogens.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0295-y
       
  • Allee effects and resilience in stochastic populations
    • Authors: Brian Dennis; Laila Assas; Saber Elaydi; Eddy Kwessi; George Livadiotis
      Abstract: Abstract Allee effects, or positive functional relationships between a population’s density (or size) and its per unit abundance growth rate, are now considered to be a widespread if not common influence on the growth of ecological populations. Here we analyze how stochasticity and Allee effects combine to impact population persistence. We compare the deterministic and stochastic properties of four models: a logistic model (without Allee effects), and three versions of the original model of Allee effects proposed by Vito Volterra representing a weak Allee effect, a strong Allee effect, and a strong Allee effect with immigration. We employ the diffusion process approach for modeling single-species populations, and we focus on the properties of stationary distributions and of the mean first passage times. We show that stochasticity amplifies the risks arising from Allee effects, mainly by prolonging the amount of time a population spends at low abundance levels. Even weak Allee effects become consequential when the ubiquitous stochastic forces affecting natural populations are accounted for in population models. Although current concepts of ecological resilience are bound up in the properties of deterministic basins of attraction, a complete understanding of alternative stable states in ecological systems must include stochasticity.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0288-2
       
  • Leading indicators of mosquito-borne disease elimination
    • Authors: Suzanne M. O’Regan; Jonathan W. Lillie; John M. Drake
      Abstract: Abstract Mosquito-borne diseases contribute significantly to the global disease burden. High-profile elimination campaigns are currently underway for many parasites, e.g., Plasmodium spp., the causal agent of malaria. Sustaining momentum near the end of elimination programs is often difficult to achieve and consequently quantitative tools that enable monitoring the effectiveness of elimination activities after the initial reduction of cases has occurred are needed. Documenting progress in vector-borne disease elimination is a potentially important application for the theory of critical transitions. Non-parametric approaches that are independent of model-fitting would advance infectious disease forecasting significantly. In this paper, we consider compartmental Ross-McDonald models that are slowly forced through a critical transition through gradually deployed control measures. We derive expressions for the behavior of candidate indicators, including the autocorrelation coefficient, variance, and coefficient of variation in the number of human cases during the approach to elimination. We conducted a simulation study to test the performance of each summary statistic as an early warning system of mosquito-borne disease elimination. Variance and coefficient of variation were highly predictive of elimination but autocorrelation performed poorly as an indicator in some control contexts. Our results suggest that tipping points (bifurcations) in mosquito-borne infectious disease systems may be foreshadowed by characteristic temporal patterns of disease prevalence.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0285-5
       
  • The ecology of asexual pairwise interactions: the generalized law of mass
           action
    • Authors: Fabio Dercole
      Abstract: Abstract A general procedure to formulate asexual (unstructured, deterministic) population dynamical models resulting from individual pairwise interactions is proposed. Individuals are characterized by a continuous strategy that is constant during life and represents their behavioral, morphological, and functional traits. Populations group conspecific individuals with identical strategy and are measured by densities in space. Species can be monomorphic, if only a single value of the strategy is present, or polymorphic otherwise. The procedure highlights the structural properties fulfilled by the population per-capita growth rates. In particular, the effect on the growth rate of jointly perturbing a set of similar strategies is proportional to the product of the corresponding densities, with a proportionality coefficient that can be density-dependent only through the sum of the densities. This generalizes the law of mass action, which traditionally refers to the case in which the per-capita growth rates are linearly density-dependent and insensitive to joint strategy perturbations. Being underpinned by individual strategies, the proposed procedure is most useful for evolutionary considerations, in the case strategies are inheritable. The developed body of theory is exemplified on a Holling-type-II many-prey-one-predator system and on a model of cannibalism.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0287-3
       
  • Coexistence and emergent neutrality generate synchrony among competitors
           in fluctuating environments
    • Authors: Katherine Scranton; David A. Vasseur
      Abstract: Abstract Many competitive communities exhibit a puzzling amount of species diversity. In this study, we model a community of symmetric competitors in a fluctuating environment. We use biologically realistic temperature-dependent growth curves with a widely hypothesized trade-off between maximum growth and nice breadth to control the shapes of the curves of different species. We perform three analyses of the community dynamics to investigate the role of environmental fluctuations in community composition and species diversity. We initiate communities with equal abundances of all species and randomize the temperature fluctuations so that there is no correlation between species responses, only noise. We initiate single populations and allow other species to randomly invade the community. We also knock out extant species one by one from an established community and allow them to reinvade after the remaining species have adjusted. We find that competitors with sufficiently different temperature niches coexist via temporal niche differentiation. We also find long-term persistence of species that are very similar to a dominant competitor. This creates communities with species clumped along a temperature niche axis, with stable coexistence between groups and near neutrality within groups. The near neutrality results in interspecific synchrony within the groups, providing an explanation for the maintenance of high diversity in competitive communities where synchrony is commonly observed.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0294-z
       
  • Observance of period-doubling bifurcation and chaos in an autonomous ODE
           model for malaria with vector demography
    • Authors: Calistus N. Ngonghala; Miranda I. Teboh-Ewungkem; Gideon A. Ngwa
      Abstract: Abstract We illustrate that an autonomous ordinary differential equation model for malaria transmission can exhibit period-doubling bifurcations leading to chaos when ecological aspects of malaria transmission are incorporated into the model. In particular, when demography, feeding, and reproductive patterns of the mosquitoes that transmit the malaria-causing parasite are explicitly accounted for, the resulting model exhibits subcritical bifurcations, period-doubling bifurcations, and chaos. Vectorial and disease reproduction numbers that regulate the size of the vector population at equilibrium and the endemicity of the malaria disease, respectively, are identified and used to simulate the model to show the different bifurcations and chaotic dynamics. A subcritical bifurcation is observed when the disease reproduction number is less than unity. This highlights the fact that malaria control efforts need to be long lasting and sustained to drive the infectious populations to levels below the associated saddle-node bifurcation point at which control is feasible. As the disease reproduction number increases beyond unity, period-doubling cascades that develop into chaos closely followed by period-halving sequences are observed. The appearance of chaos suggests that characterization of the physiological status of disease vectors can provide a pathway toward understanding the complex phenomena that are known to characterize the dynamics of malaria and other indirectly transmitted infections of humans. To the best of our knowledge, there is no known unforced continuous time deterministic host-vector transmission malaria model that has been shown to exhibit chaotic dynamics. Our results suggest that malaria data may need to be critically examined for complex dynamics.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0293-0
       
  • Predation risk tradeoffs in prey: effects on energy and behaviour
    • Authors: Marwa Khater; Dorian Murariu; Robin Gras
      Abstract: Abstract The complexity of behavioural interactions in predator-prey systems has recently begun to capture trait-effects, or non-lethal effects, of predators on prey via induced behavioural changes. Non-lethal predation effects play crucial roles in shaping population and community dynamics, particularly by inducing changes to foraging, movement and reproductive behaviours of prey. Prey exhibit trade-offs in behaviours while minimizing predation risk. We use a novel evolutionary ecosystem simulation EcoSim to study such behavioural interactions and their effects on prey populations, thereby addressing the need for integrating multiple layers of complexity in behavioural ecology. EcoSim allows complex intra- and inter-specific interactions between behaviourally and genetically unique individuals called predators and prey, as well as complex predator-prey dynamics and coevolution in a tri-trophic and spatially heterogeneous world. We investigated the effects of predation risk on prey energy budgets and fitness. Results revealed that energy budgets, life history traits, allocation of energy to movements and fitness-related actions differed greatly between prey subjected to low-predation risk and high-predation risk. High-predation risk suppressed prey foraging activity, increased total movement and decreased reproduction relative to low-risk. We show that predation risk alone induces behavioural changes in prey which drastically affect population and community dynamics, and when interpreted within the evolutionary context of our simulation indicate that genetic changes accompanying coevolution have long-term effects on prey adaptability to the absence of predators.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0277-5
       
  • Optimal harvesting strategies for timber and non-timber forest products in
           tropical ecosystems
    • Authors: Orou G. Gaoue; Jiang Jiang; Wandi Ding; Folashade B. Agusto; Suzanne Lenhart
      Abstract: Abstract Harvesting wild plants for non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can be ecologically sustainable–without long-term consequences to the dynamics of targeted and associated species–but it may not be economically satisfying because it fails to provide enough revenues for local people over time. In several cases, the same species can be harvested for NTFP and also logged for timber. Three decades of studies on the sustainability of NTFP harvest for local people’s livelihood have failed to successfully integrate these socio-economic and ecological factors. We apply optimal control theory to investigate optimal strategies for the combinations of non-lethal (e.g., NTFP) and lethal (e.g., timber) harvest that minimize the cost of harvesting while maximizing the benefits (revenue) that accrue to harvesters and the conservation value of harvested ecosystems. Optimal harvesting strategies include starting with non-lethal NTFP harvest and postponing lethal timber harvesting to begin after a few years. We clearly demonstrate that slow growth species have lower optimal harvesting rates, objective functional values and profits than fast growth species. However, contrary to expectation, the effect of species lifespan on optimal harvesting rates was weak suggesting that life history is a better indicator of species resilience to harvest than lifespan. Overall, lethal or nonlethal harvest rates must be <40 % to ensure optimality. This optimal rate is lower than commonly reported sustainable harvest rates for non-timber forest products.
      PubDate: 2016-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-015-0286-4
       
  • Time to extinction in deteriorating environments
    • Authors: Katherine Zarada; John M. Drake
      Abstract: Abstract Habitat degradation and destruction are the predominant drivers of population extinction, but there is little theory to guide the analysis of population viability in deteriorating environments. To address this gap, we investigated extinction times in time-varying, demographically stochastic versions of the logistic model for population dynamics. A property of these models is the “extinction delay,” a quantitative measure of the time lag in extinction created by species-specific extinction debt. For completeness, three models were constructed to represent the different demographic routes by which deterioration may affect population dynamics. Numerical analysis for two notional life histories indicated that the demographic response to environmental deterioration had a large effect on extinction delay, but a third analysis showed that the trajectory of the decline in carrying capacity ultimately characterized its magnitude. A concave decline in carrying capacity produced a large extinction delay while a small delay occurred with a convex decline. Furthermore, our results explore the non-monotonicity of extinction debt with respect to the speed of deterioration. A peak is present at low levels of deterioration, and the height of the peak and the asymptote of delay are affected by both life history parameterizations and the rate of change of the carrying capacity. The results suggest that population viability analyses must consider not only environmental deterioration, but also the effects of deterioration on the trajectory of the decline in carrying capacity.
      PubDate: 2016-08-27
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0311-2
       
  • Paradoxical effects and interactions in food webs: a commentary on Nilsson
           and McCann (2016)
    • Authors: Peter A. Abrams
      Abstract: Abstract Counter-intuitive responses of population density to changes in parameter values were used by Nilsson and McCann (Theor Ecol 9:59–71, 2016, Theoretical Ecology) to argue for the superiority of a recently proposed measure of interaction strength. They argued that one of these responses (decreasing consumer density in response to increasing per capita resource attack rate) is rarely or never discussed and is distinct from responses to consumer mortality. In fact, there is a long history of work on responses to altered attack rates, and they are linked to responses to mortality because the latter very often produce coupled changes in attack rate. This earlier literature does not support a qualitative difference between the impacts of these two types of parameter change and does not clearly support the desirability of any particular measure of interaction strength.
      PubDate: 2016-08-27
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0312-1
       
  • Ecological rescue of host-microbial systems under environmental change
    • Authors: Pradeep Pillai; Tarik C. Gouhier; Steven V. Vollmer
      Abstract: Abstract Beneficial mutations can promote persistence via evolutionary rescue in species experiencing environmental change. However, in long-lived organisms, the pace of evolution is often too slow relative to that of environmental change for evolutionary rescue to occur. Using a spatially implicit metacommunity model, we demonstrate how interactions between slow-growing hosts and their fast-growing microbiomes can promote persistence under rapid environmental change. We show that microbial mutualists can rescue their hosts by allowing them to persist under deteriorating environmental conditions. This form of mutualist-mediated ecological rescue can be jeopardized by competitively dominant microbial cheaters, which can destabilize host population dynamics and promote the risk of stochastic extinction. However, when microbial diversity is high, (meta)community-level interactions among multiple microbial species can buffer the disruptive effect of cheaters and give rise to a more potent form of ecological rescue mediated by the entire microbiome that promotes the abundance, stability, and persistence of the host in the face of environmental change. Our results address two critical problems associated with the viability of rescue in macroorganisms: the temporal mismatch between rapid environmental change and slow organismal response and the potential disruption of rescue by microbial cheaters.
      PubDate: 2016-08-18
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0310-3
       
  • Erratum to: Role of trade-off between sexual and vertical routes for
           evolution of pathogen transmission
    • Authors: Veronika Bernhauerová; Luděk Berec
      PubDate: 2016-07-28
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0308-x
       
  • Effects of aboveground herbivory on plants with long-term belowground
           biomass storage
    • Authors: Shyam M Thomas; Karen C Abbott; Kirk A Moloney
      Abstract: Abstract Plant tolerance to herbivory is contingent on multiple traits and adaptive mechanisms, which makes it a complex response with ecological implications. In plants with long-term belowground storage, allocation of biomass to inaccessible parts belowground in response to folivory is a well-recognized tolerance mechanism. In temperate regions, spring growth from buried rootstock is common among winter deciduous plants and is often followed by regrowth after defoliation, both of which draws resources from the stored reserves. We developed a mathematical model to analyze this tolerance response in a winter deciduous plant with long-term belowground biomass when it is defoliated by a specialist insect folivore. The model explores how three closely associated traits—(1) belowground biomass allocation to roots, (2) spring utilization of stored reserves, and (3) post-defoliation regrowth capacity—modulate the persistence and dynamics of the plant and herbivore populations. Model results show that allocation to belowground storage is not only a critical component of tolerance but also influences the herbivore population dynamics in ways that depend on how and when plant biomass is allocated and used. Low belowground biomass allocation and high storage utilization combined with poor photosynthetic growth caused extirpation of the plant population by the defoliating insects. Stable coexistence of the plant at low biomass along with its specialist insect required a moderate amount of post-herbivory belowground allocation. High values of belowground biomass allocation, storage utilization, and photosynthetic growth resulted in sustained cycles of the herbivore and plant populations. Interestingly, utilization of stored reserves had conflicting influence on above and belowground biomass, and strongly affected herbivore population dynamics. Our model thus highlights the complexity of tolerance response when it involves multiple traits and mechanisms as evinced by winter deciduous plants. We close by discussing the implications of our findings for the contributions of defoliating insects to biocontrol programs.
      PubDate: 2016-07-09
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0307-y
       
  • Downstream flow and upstream movement determine the value of a stream
           reach for potadromous fish populations
    • Authors: Yasmine Samia; Frithjof Lutscher
      Abstract: Abstract Given that human activities often have negative impacts on biological populations, a common question is to find the location of greatest positive or least negative impact. Local habitat suitability is frequently used to evaluate viability of fish populations in river networks. Upper stream reaches are often undervalued, in particular when they are not navigable or do not contain commercially interesting fish. Since water flow transports certain local conditions downstream and individuals navigate river networks upstream and downstream, impacts of local perturbations can manifest elsewhere in the system, and overall effects of disturbances should be assessed on a network level. We study a model for a potadromous fish population in a system of connected stream reaches. We consider different geometries to evaluate how downstream transport and individual movement interact to determine the location of greatest and least impact of a single or two concurrent disturbances. Our results show how upper stream reaches can be highly significant for population persistence if downstream transport of abiotic conditions or upstream movement of individuals is strong.
      PubDate: 2016-06-21
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0306-z
       
  • Evolutionary food web models: effects of an additional resource
    • Authors: Daniel Ritterskamp; Christoph Feenders; Daniel Bearup; Bernd Blasius
      Abstract: Abstract Many empirical food webs contain multiple resources, which can lead to the emergence of sub-communities—partitions—in a food web that are weakly connected with each other. These partitions interact and affect the complete food web. However, the fact that food webs can contain multiple resources is often neglected when describing food web assembly theoretically, by considering only a single resource. We present an allometric, evolutionary food web model and include two resources of different sizes. Simulations show that an additional resource can lead to the emergence of partitions, i.e. groups of species that specialise on different resources. For certain arrangements of these partitions, the interactions between them alter the food web properties. First, these interactions increase the variety of emerging network structures, since hierarchical bodysize relationships are weakened. Therefore, they could play an important role in explaining the variety of food web structures that is observed in empirical data. Second, interacting partitions can destabilise the population dynamics by introducing indirect interactions with a certain strength between predator and prey species, leading to biomass oscillations and evolutionary intermittence.
      PubDate: 2016-06-13
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0305-0
       
  • The content and availability of information affects the evolution of
           social-information gathering strategies
    • Authors: Eleanor Redstart Brush; Naomi Ehrich Leonard; Simon A. Levin
      Abstract: Abstract Social animals can gather information by observing the other members of their groups. Strategies for gathering this type of social information have many components. In particular, an animal can vary the number of other animals it observes. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in flight pay attention to a number of neighbors that allows the flock to reach consensus quickly and robustly. The birds may do this because being in such a flock confers benefits on its members, or the birds may use the strategy that is individually beneficial without regard for the flock’s structure. To understand when individual-level optimization results in a group-level optimum, we develop a model of animals gathering social information about environmental cues, where the cue can be about either predators or resources, and we analyze two processes through which the number of neighbors changes over time. We then identify the number of neighbors the birds use when the two dynamics reach equilibrium. First, we find that the equilibrium number of neighbors is much lower when the birds are learning about the presence of resources rather than predators. Second, when the information is about the presence of predators, we find that the equilibrium number of neighbors increases as the information becomes more widespread. Third, we find that an optimization process converges on strategies that allow the flock to reach consensus when the information is about the presence of abundant resources, but not when it is about the presence of scarce resources or predators.
      PubDate: 2016-06-07
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0301-4
       
  • The effects of predation on seasonally migrating populations
    • Authors: John G. Donohue; Petri T. Piiroinen
      Abstract: Abstract Interspecific interactions may occur for just a brief period each year before the populations involved become spatially separated. For instance, the range of a migrating population may overlap with that of a population of predators for a single season. In this work, we outline a framework for examining how this kind of ‘transient’ predation influences the dynamics of the prey population. A time-dependent switching system is used to partition the annual cycle into distinct segments. We then consider the effect of a single predatory interaction during a particular season, with the associated predators characterised as either generalists or specialists. We show that generalist predation potentially can allow multiple stable limit cycles to exist. Predation by specialists may cause prey abundance to oscillate over long time periods. This is shown to be a consequence of over-exploitation of newborn prey individuals. The habitat-based formulation extends naturally to the study of interannual variation in environmental conditions. We illustrate how such changes may cause migrant populations to undergo sudden changes in numbers that are not readily reversible.
      PubDate: 2016-06-03
      DOI: 10.1007/s12080-016-0304-1
       
 
 
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