Extinction risk of a Metapopulation under bistable local dynamics

  Ohad Vilk  ,  Michael Assaf  
Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

We study the extinction risk of a fragmented population residing on a network of patches coupled by migration, where the local patch dynamics include the Allee effect. We show that mixing between patches dramatically influences the population's viability. Slow migration is shown to always increase the population's global extinction risk compared to the isolated case. At fast migration, we demonstrate that synchrony between patches minimizes the population's extinction risk. Moreover, we discover a critical migration rate that maximizes the extinction risk of the population, and identify an early-warning signal when approaching this state. Our theoretical results are confirmed via the highly-efficient weighted ensemble method. Notably, our analysis can also be applied to studying switching in gene regulatory networks with multiple transcriptional states.