Carrying capacity is a key concept in ecology. A body of theory, based on the logistic equation, has extended predictions of carrying capacity to spatially distributed, dispersing populations. However, this theory has only recently been tested empirically. The experimental results disagree with some theoretical predictions of when they are extended to a population dispersing randomly in a two-patch system. However, they are consistent with a mechanistic model of consumption on an exploitable resource (consumer–resource model). We argue that carrying capacity, defined as the total equilibrium population, is not a fundamental property of ecological systems, at least in the context of spatial heterogeneity. Instead, it is an emergent property that depends on the population’s intrinsic growth and dispersal rates.
|Title||Carrying capacity of spatially distributed metapopulations|
|Authors||Bo Zhang, Don DeAngelis, Wei-Ming Ni|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Trends in Ecology and Evolution|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|