The evolution of density–dependent dispersal

Justin M. J. Travis, David J. Murrell, Calvin Dytham

Abstract

Despite a large body of empirical evidence suggesting that the dispersal rates of many species depend on population density, most metapopulation models assume a density–independent rate of dispersal. Similarly, studies investigating the evolution of dispersal have concentrated almost exclusively on density–independent rates of dispersal. We develop a model that allows density–dependent dispersal strategies to evolve. Our results demonstrate that a density–dependent dispersal strategy almost always evolves and that the form of the relationship depends on reproductive rate, type of competition, size of subpopulation equilibrium densities and cost of dispersal. We suggest that future metapopulation models should account for density–dependent dispersal

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