Aim of the MASTEP model

Populations in their natural habitats are frequently affected by various disturbances, both of natural and anthropogenic character. It is resistance to as well as recovery from disturbance that determines the relative stability of populations, communities and ecosystems.

Chemical disturbance is only one of potential disrupting events caused by human activities. Pesticides are used worldwide to increase crop yield and, although becoming very pest-specific, still do affect non-target organisms in areas adjacent to treated crops. What makes certain species recover more successfully than others are specific life-history traits, such as number of reproductive cycles per year (from one to multiple), overall fecundity, dispersal that can be active or passive (via air, land or water), feeding strategies, but also individual sensitivity to the toxicant affecting them. The last point we consider is the role landscape features have in the recovery process of a certain species, where isolation or connectivity of an affected habitat patch will determine the speed of recolonization