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Am Nat. 2000 Jan;155(1):116-127. doi: 10.1086/303296.

Local Competition, Inbreeding, and the Evolution of Sex-Biased Dispersal.


Using game theory, we developed a kin-selection model to investigate the consequences of local competition and inbreeding depression on the evolution of natal dispersal. Mating systems have the potential to favor strong sex biases in dispersal because sex differences in potential reproductive success affect the balance between local resource competition and local mate competition. No bias is expected when local competition equally affects males and females, as happens in monogamous systems and also in polygynous or promiscuous ones as long as female fitness is limited by extrinsic factors (breeding resources). In contrast, a male-biased dispersal is predicted when local mate competition exceeds local resource competition, as happens under polygyny/promiscuity when female fitness is limited by intrinsic factors (maximal rate of processing resources rather than resources themselves). This bias is reinforced by among-sex interactions: female philopatry enhances breeding opportunities for related males, while male dispersal decreases the chances that related females will inbreed. These results meet empirical patterns in mammals: polygynous/promiscuous species usually display a male-biased dispersal, while both sexes disperse in monogamous species. A parallel is drawn with sex-ratio theory, which also predicts biases toward the sex that suffers less from local competition. Optimal sex ratios and optimal sex-specific dispersal show mutual dependence, which argues for the development of coevolution models.


kin selection; local mate competition; local resource competition; mating systems; potential reproductive rate


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