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Demography of the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in the Afon Rheidol 1972–1998: search for mechanisms, using simulation models

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Simulation models explicitly incorporating stochastic, density independent and deterministic density dependent processes were used to explore the possible mechanisms that determined the population dynamics observed for a small, freshwater population of threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. A model that assumed that the number of spawnings per female and nest density were density dependent, but over-wintering loss and growth were density independent best described the observed population dynamics. However, the incorporation of a stochastic factor simulating drought did not lead to the quasi-cyclical behaviour shown by the observed population dynamics as previously hypothesised. Potential expansions of the models to incorporate egg cannibalism and other factors are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DA, UK


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