Different places (“patches”) where organisms live have different physical environmental properties. The concept of between-patch variation refers to this variation in space in the physical environment. It refers to fixed properties, not those that might change over time. It is most useful in thinking about how the dynamics of a population or community are affected by movements of organisms between places with different physical properties. The idea is identical in meaning to “pure spatial environmental variation.”
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Chesson, P.L. 1985. Coexistence of competitors in spatially and temporally varying environments: a look at the combined effects of different sorts of variability. Theor. Pop. Biol. 28, 263-287.
Chesson, P. 1991. Stochastic population models. In "Ecological Heterogeneity," J. Kolasa and S.T.A. Pickett (eds), Ecological Studies: analysis and synthesis 86, 123-143. Springer-Verlag, New York.
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Chesson, P. 2000. General theory of competitive coexistence in spatially varying environments. Theoretical Population Biology 58, 211-237.
Chesson, P. 2001. Metapopulations. Pp 161-176 in Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Vol 4, Simon A. Levin, ed, Academic Press.
Chesson, P., Peterson,
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of physiological integration in clonal plants. Evolutionary Ecology Research 4, 1153–1176.
Snyder, R.E. and Chesson, P. 2003. Local dispersal can facilitate coexistence in the presence of permanent spatial heterogeneity. Ecology Letters 6,301–309.
Chesson, P., Donahue, M., Melbourne, B., Sears, A. 2004. Scale transition theory for understanding mechanisms in metacommunities. In Holyoak, M, Leibold, M.A., Holt, R.D., eds, Metacommunities: spatial dynamics and ecological communities.