Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 2779–2796 | Cite as

Conspecific and heterospecific attraction in assessments of functional connectivity

  • Sara L. Zeigler
  • Maile C. Neel
  • Leonardo Oliveira
  • Becky E. Raboy
  • William F. Fagan
Original Paper


Functional connectivity is known to have an important, positive influence on species persistence. Measurements of functional connectivity traditionally focus on structural attributes of landscapes such as the distance and matrix type between habitat patches as well as on how species interact with those structural attributes. However, we propose that the social behavior of a species, through conspecific and heterospecific attraction, will also impact connectivity by changing how dispersers move with respect to each other and occupied patches. We analyzed functional connectivity patterns using circuit and graph theory for golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) in Brazil under three scenarios. In the first scenario, we looked at connectivity without the effects of attraction under varying maximum dispersal distance and ecological movement cost thresholds. In the second scenario, we allowed dispersers to travel over more hostile matrix than they normally would to reach an occupied patch. In the final scenario, we allowed dispersers to move only to occupied patches. We found that, according to the first scenario, range-wide functional landscape connectivity for golden-headed lion tamarins is low at realistic maximum dispersal distance and movement cost thresholds. Incorporating the effects of conspecific or heterospecific attraction would increase functional connectivity, in the case of scenario two, or decrease functional connectivity, in the case of scenario three. Because conspecific/heterospecific attraction can have an impact on movement for some species, this factor should be incorporated in assessments of functional connectivity patterns for social species and others where patch occupancy is likely to influence the movements of dispersers.


Atlantic forest Brazil Circuit theory Dispersal Graph theory Golden-headed lion tamarin Wied’s marmoset 



We thank Brad McRae and Santiago Saura for their quick and enthusiastic help with the use of their modeling software. Michael Lloyd provided technical support. Finally, we thank James Dietz, Jennifer Mickelberg, and Carlos Guidorizzi for sharing their unpublished work and for providing interesting discussions on lion tamarin movement. Funding was provided through the Anne G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship through the University of Maryland (to S.Z. and L.O.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara L. Zeigler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maile C. Neel
    • 3
  • Leonardo Oliveira
    • 4
  • Becky E. Raboy
    • 5
    • 6
  • William F. Fagan
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant Science and Landscape ArchitectureUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  5. 5.Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological ParkWashingtonUSA
  6. 6.Center for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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