Class at CES on 16 July 2019 at 10:30 am titled "Introduction to Spatial Ecology" by Dr. Saskya van Nouhuys from Cornell University, University of Helsinki
Spatial ecology incorporates concepts of distance and area, including the granularity of a habitat, a substrate, or a process. A main question is: How do the spatial arrangements of organisms, populations, and landscapes influence ecological dynamics. Spatial ecology applies at various scales, to both the observations and of the processes of interest. These scales range from a cell, to a leaf, a tree, a forest, a continent or the planet. The observations and processes can be at different scales. For example, we could observe disease transmission between two individuals because of our interest in disease spread over a continent. A fundamental concept of scale is its association with species diversity, as shown using ``island biogeography’’. Classically, on literal islands, species diversity increases with island area and with proximity to the mainland. The “island” ideas extend more generally so, for example, local diversity depends on area of a habitat and number of species in the surroundings. The spatial arrangement of habitat affects the distribution and dynamics of populations. For example, continuous habitats allow for well-mixed populations, and fragmented habitat result in semi-isolated or isolated populations. “Metapopulation/Metacommunity” theory applies to fragmented landscapes in which relatively isolated local populations undergo periodic colonizations and extinctions. Despite local extinctions, the recolonizations can allow the collection of local populations to persist indefinitely. Finally, spatial landscape structure doesn’t only affect dynamics of populations, it also affects the genetic structure and genetic diversity of populations, the process of evolution, and which traits evolve.