This model “assumes that the entire population is subdivided into colonies and the migration of individuals in each generation is restricted to nearby colonies” (Kimura and Weiss, 1964). Thus it is a special case of isolation by distance.


Sewall Wright and others developed the ideas of spatial structure in populations relative to their genetics. Levins (1969, 1970) reframed the effects of spatial structure to the population dynamics and ecology of a species. His model concentrated on the effects of extinction and recolonization of local populations on the persistence of a species. Hanski and Simberloff (1997) have developed the ideas further since the 1980s to emphasize the effect of migration and connectivity on the vital rates of local populations and how spatial heterogeneity can act to protect a species from extinction. Modern theory does not necessarily assume that local populations will go extinct and allows that there can be substantial migration between them. However, the ramifications of habitat fragmentation on formation of metapopulations has not been fully developed (Jones, 2006).

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