Evolutionary trade-offs between reproduction and dispersal in populations at expanding range boundaries

Clare L. Hughes, Jane K. Hill, Calvin Dytham

Abstract

During recent climate warming, some species have expanded their ranges northwards to keep track of climate changes. Evolutionary changes in dispersal have been demonstrated in these expanding populations and here we show that increased dispersal is associated with reduced investment in reproduction in populations of the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria. Evolutionary changes in flight versus reproduction will affect the pattern and rate of expansion at range boundaries in the future, and understanding these responses will be crucial for predicting the distribution of species in the future as climates continue to warm.

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