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Evolution. 2000 Feb;54(1):293-7.

Reproductive effort in viscous populations.

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Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands.


Here I study a kin selection model of reproductive effort, the allocation of resources to fecundity versus survival, in a patch-structured population. Breeding females remain in the same patch for life. Offspring have costly, partial long-distance dispersal and compete for breeding sites, which become vacant upon the death of previous occupants. The main result is that the evolutionarily stable reproductive effort decreases as offspring dispersal rate increases. The result can be understood as follows: In a well-mixed population with global competition, neither adults nor juveniles compete with relatives, but in a patch-structured population with dispersal restricted to the juvenile phase, juveniles experience relatively less competition with relatives than adults, thus making juveniles relatively more valuable. Because this asymmetry between adults and juveniles decreases with the dispersal rate, so does the evolutionarily stable level of allocation to fecundity.

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