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Field experiments that examine the impact of immigration, emigration, or landscape structure (e.g., the composition of the matrix) on the source-sink dynamics of fragmented populations are scarce. Here, planthoppers (Prokelisia crocea) and egg parasitoids (Anagrus columbi) were released among host-plant patches that varied in structural (caged, isolated, or in a network of other patches) and functional (mudflat matrix that impedes dispersal vs. brome-grass matrix that facilitates dispersal) connectivity. Planthoppers and parasitoids on caged patches exhibited density-dependent growth rates, achieved high equilibrium densities, and rarely went extinct. Therefore, experimental cordgrass patches were classified as population sources. Because access to immigrants did not result in elevated population densities, source populations were not also pseudosinks, i.e., patches whose densities occur above carrying capacity due to high immigration. Planthoppers and parasitoids in open patches in mudflat had dynamics similar to those in caged patches, but went extinct in 4-5 generations in open patches in brome. Brome-embedded patches leaked emigrants at a rate that exceeded the gains from reproduction and immigration; populations of this sort are known as population sieves. For species whose suitable patches are becoming smaller and more isolated as a result of increased habitat fragmentation, emigration losses are likely to become paramount, a condition favoring the formation of population sieves. An increase in the proportion of patches that are sieves is predicted to destabilize regional population dynamics. © 2007 by the Ecological Society of America.

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