UNIFYING SOURCES AND SINKS IN ECOLOGY AND EARTH SCIENCES.
Loreau, M., Daufresne, T., Gonzalez, A., Gravel, D., Guichard, F., Leroux, S.J., Loeuille, N., Massol, F. and Mouquet, N. (2013).
Biological Review, 88, 365-79, doi:10.1111/brv.12003
Key message :The paired source and sink concepts are used increasingly in ecology and Earth sciences, but they have evolved in divergent directions, hampering communication across disciplines. We propose a conceptual framework that unifies existing definitions, and review their most significant consequences for the various disciplines. A general definition of the source and sink concepts that transcends disciplines is based on net flows between the components of a system: a source is a subsystem that is a net exporter of some living or non-living entities of interest, and a sink is a net importer of these entities. Sources and sinks can further be classified as conditional and unconditional, depending on the intrinsic propensity of subsystems to either produce (source) or absorb (sink) a surplus of these entities under some (conditional) or all (unconditional) conditions. The distinction between conditional and unconditional sources and sinks, however, is strongly context dependent. Sources can turn into sinks, and vice versa, when the context is changed, when systems are subject to temporal fluctuations or evolution, or when they are considered at different spatial and temporal scales. The conservation of ecosystem services requires careful consideration of the source−sink dynamics of multiple ecosystem components. Our synthesis shows that source−sink dynamics has profound consequences for our ability to understand, predict, and manage species and ecosystems in heterogeneous landscapes.
Sources and sinks can be classified as conditional and unconditional, depending on the intrinsic propensity of subsystems to either produce (source) or absorb (sink) a surplus of these entities under some (conditional) or all (unconditional) conditions.
OTHER TOPICS: Aesthetics of Biodiversity, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning, Biogeography, Macroecology & Ecophylogenetics, Experimental Evolution,
Functional Biogeography, Functional Rarity, Metacommunities, Metaecosystems, Reviews and Synthesis, Trophic Biogeography & Metaweb