This work investigates approaches to simplifying individual-based models in which the rate of disturbance depends on local densities. To this purpose, an individual-based model for a benthic population is developed that is both spatial and stochastic. With this model, three possible ways of approximating the dynamics of mean numbers are examined: a mean-field approximation that ignores space completely, a second-order approximation that represents spatial variation in terms of variances and covariances, and a patch-based approximation that retains information about the age structure of the patch population. Results show that space is important and that a temporal model relying on mean disturbance rates provides a poor approximation to the dynamics of mean numbers. It is possible, however, to represent relevant spatial variation with second-order moments, particularly when recruitment rates are low and/or when disturbances are large and weak. Even better approximations are obtained by retaining patch age information.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics