Comparing risk factors for population extinction

Hiroshi Hakoyama, Yoh Iwasa, Junko Nakanishi

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Extinction risk of natural populations of animals and plants is enhanced by many different processes, including habitat size reduction and toxic chemical exposure. We develop a method to evaluate different risk factors in terms of the decrease in the mean extinction time. We choose a population model with logistic growth, environmental and demographic stochasticities with three parameters (intrinsic growth rate r, carrying capacity K, and environmental noise σ(e)/2). The reduction in the habitat size decreases carrying capacity K only, whilst toxic chemical exposure decreases survivorship (or fertility) and in effect reduces both r and K. We derived a formula for the reduction in habitat size that decrease the mean extinction time by the same magnitude as a given level of toxic chemical exposure. In a large population (large K) or in a slowly growing population (small r), a small decrease in survivorship can cause the extinction risk increase corresponding to a significant reduction in the habitat size. This conclusion depends also on the nonlinearity of dose-effect relationship. To illustrate the method, we analyse a freshwater fish, Japanese crucian carp (Carassius auratus subsp.) in Lake Biwa. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-336
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 7 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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