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  • 1.
    Sellman, Stefan
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
    Ecologically viable population sizes: Determining factors2010Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The minimum ecologically viable population size (MEVP) of a species describes the minimum size at which the species itself or another species in the same ecosystem goes extinct as a result of the loss of inter-specific interactions. The MEVP shows a good potential for use as a tool for exploring the mechanisms behind species extinctions, but presently only a small amount of research has been done that takes advantage of this. In this study the MEVP is used to investigate what properties of species can be used as good indicators of ecological importance. 100 large computer generated food webs were created with an assembly model and the reduction in density that was necessary to induce an extinction event in the web was subsequently determined for each species within the webs. This change in density was then correlated with 28 different properties, measured for each species. The results show that properties that measure how well connected a species is, as well as measures of the species role as a prey item in the web are the ones with the greatest potential to find species with high MEVP. Further, the results put emphasis on the importance of regarding the web as a whole when working with species extinctions, while also highlighting the usefulness of the MEVP concept.

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