Causes & Types of Metapopulation

The concept of Metapopulation is coined by Richard Levins in 1969. Meta-population consists of a group of spatially separated populations of the same species which are linked by migration, dispersal, and extinction.

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Thus even if all members of one population go extinct, other subpopulations survive and dispersal from the survival population can recolonize the area. This phenomenon is called the Rescue effect.

Cause of Metapopulation

The population of populations in separate patches having connectivity are formed by either of these phenomena:

Natural cause

  • Islands
  • Habitat islands (lakes, mountain tops, desert)

Anthropogenic cause

  • Habitat fragmentation and deforestation
  • Haphazard land use
  • Matrix

Types of Metapopulation

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Types of metapopulation
1. Classical or Levins MP

Metapopulation sizes are similar, small, and interconnected. The rate of extinction and colonization is same.

2. Mainland-Island or Boorman-Levitt MP

Subpopulations are separated into a large area, one large patch is called the mainland or source population from where dispersal occurs, and the other small patches Islands are called sink populations.

3. Source-Sink or patchy MP

Subpopulations are distributed in very small patches, with fewer densities of population. Every patch can function as a source as well as sink population. Negative growth in absence of dispersal.

4. Non-Equilibrium MP

The isolated population has the least or no connectivity which results in local extinction. Thus, it is a non functional metapopulation.


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