Fagan, W.F. 2002. Connectivity, fragmentation, and extinction risk in dendritic metapopulations. Ecology 83: 3243-3249.

Neither linear nor two-dimensional frameworks may be the most appropriate for fish and other species constrained to disperse within river-creek systems. In particular, the hierarchical, dendritic structures of riverine networks are not well captured by existing spatial models. Here I use a simple geometric model and metapopulation modeling to make three points concerning the ecological consequences of dendritic landscapes. First, connectivity patterns of river–creek networks differ from linear landscapes, and these differences in connectivity can either enhance or reduce metapopulation persistence compared to linear systems, depending on the details of dispersal. Second, habitat fragmentation in dendritic landscapes has different (and arguably more severe) consequences on fragment size than in either linear or two-dimensional systems, resulting in both smaller fragments and higher variance in fragment size. Third, dendritic landscapes can induce striking mismatches between the geometry of dispersal and the geometry of disturbance, and as is the case for arid-lands fishes, such mismatches can be important for population persistence.