Relationship among settling, demography and habitat selection: an approach and a case study

Moshe Shachak, Sol Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We explore the demographic consequences of site selection by animals on their abundance among habitats. We found that pre and post settling survivorship are important links between the behavioral decisions where to settle and the distribution of a population among habitats. This was demonstrated for 10 generations of the desert isopod, Hemilepistus reaumuri, in three habitats in the Negev Desert, Israel. The populations exhibit low survivorship before settling (≈12%) and high survivorship (≈55%) after settling. According to our model this implies high site selection. Theoretical considerations and the case study led us to suggest the following relationship among settling, demography and habitat selection: 1) Individuals search for suitable settling sites to inhabit and reproduce. 2) Their decision where and when to settle is a cost benefit decision. They weigh the benefit of searching for a high quality site against mortality due to increased searching time. 3) The individual's decision to settle determines the pre and post settling survivorship pattern. 4) Survivorship pattern dictates density pattern in time and space. 5) Density pattern in a given habitat determines its quality for the individual. 6) Settling selection among habitats and the number of safe sites controls the distribution of densities among habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-626
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1988


  • Demography
  • Desert isopods
  • Habitat selection
  • Settling
  • Site selection


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