Spatial Population Ecology

Spring 2007 BioEE/ENT 757



Instructors: Saskya van Nouhuys (sdv2, Comstock 4128) & Laura Jones (lej4, Corson E343)


Download readings from


Sign up for course ID BioEE 757 610-611 or ENTOM 757 610-649


Jan. 25- Organization,introduction & sign up for topics


            What is spatial Ecology?- Notes PDF


Feb. 1- Scale of observation & spatial population synchrony Notes PDF

Reading facilitator: Michael Stastny (ms489)



Liebhold, A., Koenig, W. D., BjŅrnstad, O. N. (2004) Spatial synchrony in population dynamics.

Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics 35: 467-490. PDF


Optional background readings:

Weins, J. A.  (1989) Spatial scaling in ecology.  Functional Ecology 3:385-397. PDF


      Another interesting optional paper on the Moran effect:

Royama,T. (2005) Moran effects on nonlinear population processes. Ecological Monographs, 75: 277-293. PDF


Feb. 8- Spatial population structure & dynamics Notes PDF

Reading facilitators:Masa Seto (ms545), Doo Hyung Lee (dl343)



Hanski, I. (1998) Metapopulation dynamics. Nature: 396, 41-49. PDF


Thomas, C. D., Kunin, W. E. (1999) Spatial structure of populations. 

Journal of Animal Ecology 68: 647-657. PDF


Optional background reading:

Rohani,P., Earn, D. J. D. & Grenfell, B. T. (1999) Opposite patterns of synchrony in sympatric disease metapopulations. Science, 286: 968-971. PDF


Feb. 15- Species interactions and community structure Notes PDF

Reading facilitator:Scott McArt (shm33)



Leibold,M.A., Holyoak, M., Mouquet, N., Amarasekare, P., Chase, J.M., Hoopes, M.F.,Holt, R.D., Shurin, J.B., Law, R., Tilman, D., Loreau, M., & Gonzalez, A.(2004) The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecology Letters 7: 601-613. PDF


Thies,C., Steffan-dewenter, I., & Tscharntke, T. (2003) Effects of landscape context on herbivores and parasitism at different spatial scales. Oikos 18:18-25. PDF


Optional background reading (especially for plant oriented people):

Cornell,H. V. & Karlson, R. H. (1997) Local and regional processes as control of species richness.   In Spatial Ecology:  The role of space in population dynamics and interspecific interactions

(D. Tilman and P. Kareivaeds.)  pp. 250-268.  Princeton University Press. PDF


Feb. 22- Genetics 1:  markers as tools &  population genetics Notes PDF

Reading facilitator:Megan O’Rourke (meo27)



Watts,P.C., Saccheri, I.J., Kemp, S., J., & Thompson, D.J. (2006) Population structure and the impact of regional and local   habitat isolation upon levels of genetic diversity of the endangered damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale (Odonata: Zygoptera).   Freshwater Biology 51: 193-205. PDF


Optional background reading:

Whitlock, M. C. (2004) Selection and drift in metapopulations.   In  Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution in Metapopulations (Hanski, I. and Gaggiotti, O., eds), pp 153-174, Academic Press.  PDF


            Example paper:

Kankare,M., van Nouhuys, S., Gaggiotti, O., Hanski, I. (2005): Metapopulation genetic structure of two coexisting parasitoids of the Glanville fritillary butterfly.  Oecologia, 143: 77-84. PDF


March 1-Genetics 2: Evolution Notes PDF

Reading facilitator(s):Saskya & Laura



Hanski, I., Erälahti, C., Kankare, M., Ovaskainen, O., & Sirén, H. (2004) Variation in migration propensity among individuals maintained by landscape structure. Ecology Letters, 7: 958-966. PDF


Hanski, I. & Saccheri, I. (2006) Molecular-level variation affects population growth in a Butterfly Metapopulation. PLoS Biology, 4, e129 (pp. 719-726). PDF


Optional background reading:

Whitlock, M. C. (2004) Selection and drift in metapopulations.   In  Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution in Metapopulations (Hanski, I. and Gaggiotti, O., eds), pp 153-174, AcademicPress.  PDF


March 8 - Guest lecture by Simon Hsu-Overview of statistical analysis of spatial data Powerpoint slides


Optional background reading:

Perry,J.N., Liebhold, A.M., Rosenberg, M.S., Dungan, J., Miriti, M., Jakomulska, A.,& Citron-Pousty, S. (2002) Illustrations and guidelines for selecting statistical methods for quantifying spatial pattern in ecological data. Ecography 25: 578-600. PDF


Books that Simon Hsu mentioned:

Fortin,Marie-Josee, and Mark Dale. 2005. Spatial Analysis: A Guide for Ecologists. Cambridge University Press. ISBN-13 978-0-521-00973-1 (paperback)  or  ISBN-100-521-00973-1 (hardbound).

365 pp.

“As I mentioned in class, this book has great figures and tables, but somehow I haven't found the actual text useful for anything but giving me ideas of possible methods to use and references to papers. The book itself hasn't been useful in helping me figure out HOW to implement any of the methods.”


Bailey, Trevor C.  and Anthony C. Gatrell. Interactive Spatial Data Analysis. 1995.Pearson Education Limited, Essex, England. ISBN 0-582-24493-5 (paperback). 413pp. Includes a diskette.

“I recommend this one. It goes into the statistical theory but minimally and it gives a very good presentation of different methods that existed as of 1995.”


Isaaks, Edward H., and R. Mohan Srivastava. An Introduction to Applied Geostatistics. Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-505013-4 (paperback). 561 pp.

“I also recommend this one for geostatistics, e.g. variograms, correlograms,covariance. It is a great, easy to read introduction to terminology and concepts.”



March 15 - Types of studies 1: Observational  Notes (PDF)

Reading facilitator(s):Jen Koslow (jmk248)




1)Jolles, A. E., Sullivan, P., Alker, A. P., Harvell, C. D. (2002) Disease transmission of Aspergillosis in sea fans: inferring process from spatial pattern. Ecology 83: 2373-2378. (PDF)


2) Real, L. A. & McElhany, P. (1997) Spatial pattern and process in plant-pathogen interactions.  Ecology 77:1011-1025.  (PDF)


Optional:  Another interesting observational study with nice analysis:

Ovaskainen,O. and Laine, A.-L. 2006. Inferring evolutionary signals from ecological data in a plant-pathogen metapopulation. Ecology 87: 880-891. (PDF)



March 29- Types of studies 2: Experiments Notes (pdf)

Reading facilitator(s): Anuar Morales (am434)



1) Simberloff, D. and Wilson, E. O. (1969). Experimental zoogeography of islands: the colonization of empty islands. Ecology 50:278-296. PDF


2) Cronin, J. and Haynes, K. J. 2004 Invasive plants promote unstable host-parasitoid patch dynamics. Ecology 85: 2772-2782. PDF


April 5- Types of studies 3: Mathematical modeling Notes-PDF

Reading facilitator(s):Michael Cortez (mhe37)


Reading: S. P.Ellner, L. E. Jones, L. D. Mydlarz, C. D. Harvell. (2007) Within-host immunodynamics in a coral-pathogen interaction: modeling the cellular immune response in the sea fan Gorgonia ventalina. Manuscript. PDF

April 12 - Extinction           Notes-pdf

Reading facilitator: Laura (lej4)



 R. Lindborg & O. Eriksson (2004). Historical landscape connectivity affects present plant species diversity. Ecology: 85:1840-1845. pdf


Optional background reading:

Gaggiotti, O. E. & Hanski I.  (2004) Mechanisms of extinction.  In Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution in Metapopulations (Hanski, I. and Gaggiotti, O. eds),pp. 337- 366 Academic Press. pdf


April 19 Invasion    Notes (pdf)

Reading facilitator:  Laura  (lej4)



Tobin, P.C., Whitmire, S.L., Johnson, D.M., Bjornstad, O.N., & Liebhold, A.M. (2007). Invasion speed is affected by geographical variation in the strength of Allee effects. Ecology Letters 10: 36-43. pdf



1.     Modeling paper:

Neubert M. G.,  and H. Caswell (2000).  Demography and dispersal: calculation and sensitivity analysis of invasion speed for structured populations.  Ecology (81): 1613-1628.  (pdf)


            2.   This paper combines the above modeling approach with observation:

             Vellend M., T. M. Knight and J. M. Drake (2006):  Antagonistic effects of seed dispersal and

              herbivory on plant migration.  Ecology Letters (9): 319-326. (pdf)


            3.   Review article on allee effect and invasion:

               Taylor, C. M. and A. Hastings (2005): Allee effects in biological invasions  (Reviews & Syntheses). 

               Ecology letters (8): 895-908.  (pdf)


4.     From the standpoint of the “invaded”: what makes a habit “invasion-resistant”?

Kennedy, T. A.,  S. Naeem, K. M. Howell et al. (2002)   Biodiversity as a  barrier to ecological invasion.

Nature (417) 636-638.  (pdf)


April 26 - Conservation     Notes (pdf)

Reading facilitator(s):  Mike Avery,  Laura Jones &  David Earn.



   1. Theory:

Earn, D. J., Levin, S. A. & Rohani, P. (2000) Coherence and conservation. Science 290: 1360-1364. ( pdf )


2. Experiment:  empirical results motivated by the Earn et al. paper.

               Molofsky, J. and J.-B.  Ferdy (2005) Extinction dynamics in experimental metapopulations. 
               PNAS (102) 3726-3731.  (pdf)




May 3-  Discussion of group topic (TBA)