Demography in an increasingly variable world.
Boyce MS., Haridas CV., Lee CT., The Nceas Stochastic Demography Working Group None.
Recent advances in stochastic demography provide unique insights into the probable effects of increasing environmental variability on population dynamics, and these insights can be substantially different compared with those from deterministic models. Stochastic variation in structured population models influences estimates of population growth rate, persistence and resilience, which ultimately can alter community composition, species interactions, distributions and harvesting. Here, we discuss how understanding these demographic consequences of environmental variation will have applications for anticipating changes in populations resulting from anthropogenic activities that affect the variance in vital rates. We also highlight new tools for anticipating the consequences of the magnitude and temporal patterning of environmental variability.