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1 - Impact of a classic paper by H. Ronald Pulliam: the first 20 years

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2011

Vanessa Hull
Michigan State University
Anita T. Morzillo
Oregon State University
Jianguo Liu
Michigan State University
Jianguo Liu
Michigan State University
Vanessa Hull
Michigan State University
Anita T. Morzillo
Oregon State University
John A. Wiens
PRBO Conservation Science
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The central message of Pulliam’s classic paper, “Sources, sinks, and population regulation” (1988), was that population dynamics change across heterogeneous landscapes, and the persistence of populations in “sink” habitats relies on inputs from “source” habitats. Pulliam’s paper has gained widespread attention from the scientific and natural resource management communities. Here, we first provide the context in which the paper was developed and illustrate the paper’s overall impact during the past two decades. We then outline the contributions of Pulliam’s paper to the theories underlying niche concept, population dynamics and distribution, and community structure. Furthermore, we briefly discuss how Pulliam’s message has spread to other disciplines such as microbiology, economics, and public health. We also provide examples to demonstrate the paper’s influence on sustainable natural resource management in issues such as control of invasive species, design of protected areas, and harvesting of resources. Considering the growing impact of Pulliam’s work during the past 20 years, it is likely that this influential paper will continue to inspire scientific discovery and applications in the future.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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