Is the metapopulation concept applicable to the North Sea?

M.E. den Held

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

    Abstract

    The metapopulation concept could provide an additional way of designating areas for protective measures in the North Sea, by delineating habitat preferences and population dynamics. The current study looks into the applicability of the metapopulation concept to the North Sea underwater environment. It also seeks out species in the North Sea that could possibly be suitable metapopulations for study. The North Sea clearly is a heterogeneous environment, but habitat characteristics, like substratum type, tend to be wide ranged and without obvious physical barriers. Processes and structures in the seascape are mainly known on a rough scale, and even at that level, the available knowledge is only an interpretation from data. The same lack of knowledge is a bottleneck in defining connectivity among subpopulations, as dispersal capabilities are unknown for the majority of marine species. The species that seems most suitable for study in a metapopulation model in this test is the grey seal. Additionally, edible crab and cod emerged as species for potential use in a metapopulation model. Neither inhabit a discrete habitat patch, but both are known to have a strategy to ensure that their offspring recruits into their own population. For species that at first seemed to suitable because they have a discrete underwater habitat patch, insufficient knowledge was available to apply the theory further.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    PublisherAlterra
    Number of pages60
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameAlterra-rapport
    PublisherAlterra
    No.1928
    ISSN (Print)1566-7197

    Keywords

    • marine ecology
    • marine environment
    • marine areas
    • coastal areas
    • habitat selection
    • population dynamics
    • marine animals
    • north sea
    • seals
    • crabs
    • cod
    • gadus morhua
    • cancer pagurus
    • halichoerus grypus
    • dispersal
    • metapopulations

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