The Collapse of Ecosystem Engineer Populations
AbstractHumans are the ultimate ecosystem engineers who have profoundly transformed the world’s landscapes in order to enhance their survival. Somewhat paradoxically, however, sometimes the unforeseen effect of this ecosystem engineering is the very collapse of the population it intended to protect. Here we use a spatial version of a standard population dynamics model of ecosystem engineers to study the colonization of unexplored virgin territories by a small settlement of engineers. We find that during the expansion phase the population density reaches values much higher than those the environment can support in the equilibrium situation. When the colonization front reaches the boundary of the available space, the population density plunges sharply and attains its equilibrium value. The collapse takes place without warning and happens just after the population reaches its peak number. We conclude that overpopulation and the consequent collapse of an expanding population of ecosystem engineers is a natural consequence of the nonlinear feedback between the population and environment variables. View Full-Text
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Fontanari, J.F. The Collapse of Ecosystem Engineer Populations. Mathematics 2018, 6, 9.
Fontanari JF. The Collapse of Ecosystem Engineer Populations. Mathematics. 2018; 6(1):9.Chicago/Turabian Style
Fontanari, José F. 2018. "The Collapse of Ecosystem Engineer Populations." Mathematics 6, no. 1: 9.