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Theor Popul Biol. 2009 Aug;76(1):13-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2009.03.002. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Sex-specific spatio-temporal variability in reproductive success promotes the evolution of sex-biased dispersal.

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University of W├╝rzburg, Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Glash├╝ttenstrasse 5, D-96181 Rauhenebrach, Germany.


Inbreeding depression, asymmetries in costs or benefits of dispersal, and the mating system have been identified as potential factors underlying the evolution of sex-biased dispersal. We use individual-based simulations to explore how the mating system and demographic stochasticity influence the evolution of sex-specific dispersal in a metapopulation with females competing over breeding sites, and males over mating opportunities. Comparison of simulation results for random mating with those for a harem system (locally, a single male sires all offspring) reveal that even extreme variance in local male reproductive success (extreme male competition) does not induce male-biased dispersal. The latter evolves if the between-patch variance in reproductive success is larger for males than females. This can emerge due to demographic stochasticity if the habitat patches are small. More generally, members of a group of individuals experiencing higher spatio-temporal variance in fitness expectations may evolve to disperse with greater probability than others.

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