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Sources, Sinks and Pseudo-Sinks

Andrew R. Watkinson and William J. Sutherland
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 64, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 126-130
DOI: 10.2307/5833
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/5833
Page Count: 5
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Sources, Sinks and Pseudo-Sinks
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Abstract

1. It has been suggested that the habitats which a species occupies can be divided into sources and sinks, depending on whether or not local reproduction is sufficient to balance mortality. Source populations are those where reproduction exceeds mortality, surplus individuals dispersing to sink populations where mortality exceeds local reproduction. Sink populations would not be viable in the absence of immigration. 2. A difference equation model is constructed to show that sources and sinks cannot be identified from a simple comparison of the demographic rates between populations, as measured by the numbers of births and deaths. 3. Viable populations may appear to be non-viable simply because the dispersal of individuals into them depresses fecundity or increases mortality as a result of density-dependence. The consequence is that local recruitment appears insufficient to balance local mortality. 4. Viable populations that appear as sinks, as a result of the dispersal of individuals into them, are termed here as `pseudo-sinks'. They will clearly be difficult to distinguish from genuine sinks on the basis of a simple comparison of the numbers of births and deaths in different populations. 5. Examples of source and genuine sink populations and the data required to establish them are discussed.

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