Carmen Bessa-Gomes، نويسنده , , Carmen and Legendre، نويسنده , , Stéphane and Clobert، نويسنده , , Jean، نويسنده ,
Although sexual reproduction has long been a central subject of theoretical ecology, until recently its consequences for population dynamics were largely overlooked. This is now changing, and many studies have addressed this issue, showing that when the mating system is taken into account, the population dynamics depends on the relative abundance of males and females, and is non-linear. Moreover, sexual reproduction increases the extinction risk, namely due to the Allee effect. Nevertheless, different studies have identified diverse potential consequences, depending on the choice of mating function. In this study, we investigate the consequences of three alternative mating functions that are frequently used in discrete population models: the minimum; the harmonic mean; and the modified harmonic mean. We consider their consequences at three levels: on the probability that females will breed; on the presence and intensity of the Allee effect; and on the extinction risk. When we consider the harmonic mean, the number of times the individuals of the least abundant sex mate exceeds their mating potential, which implies that with variable sex-ratios the potential reproductive rate is no longer under the modellerʹs control. Consequently, the female breeding probability exceeds 1 whenever the sex-ratio is male-biased, which constitutes an obvious problem. The use of the harmonic mean is thus only justified if we think that this parameter should be re-defined in order to represent the femalesʹ breeding rate and the fact that females may reproduce more than once per breeding season. This phenomenon buffers the Allee effect, and reduces the extinction risk. However, when we consider birth-pulse populations, such a phenomenon is implausible because the number of times females can reproduce per birth season is limited. In general, the minimum or modified harmonic mean mating functions seem to be more suitable for assessing the impact of mating systems on population dynamics.
Population dynamics , Allee effect , Two sex models , extinction risk