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J Theor Biol. 2016 Mar 7;392:69-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.12.006. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Dispersal polymorphism in stable habitats.

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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki, PO Box 68, FIN-00014, Finland. Electronic address:


In fragmented but temporally stable landscapes, kin competition selects for dispersal when habitat patches are small, whereas the loss of dispersal is favoured when dispersal is costly and local populations are large enough for kin interactions to be negligible. In heterogeneous landscapes with both small and large patches, contrasting levels of kin competition facilitate the coexistence of low-dispersal and high-dispersal strategies. In this paper, I use both adaptive dynamics and inclusive fitness to analyse the evolution of dispersal in a simple model assuming that each patch supports either a single individual or a large population. With this assumption, many results can be obtained analytically. If the fraction of individuals living in small patches is below a threshold, then evolutionary branching yields two coexisting dispersal strategies. An attracting and evolutionarily stable dimorphism always exists (also when the monomorphic population does not have a branching point), and contains a strategy with zero dispersal and a strategy with dispersal probability between one half and the ESS of the classic Hamilton-May model. The present model features surprisingly rich population dynamics with multiple equilibria and unprotected dimorphisms, but the evolutionarily stable dimorphism is always protected.


Adaptive dynamics; Evolutionary branching; Habitat heterogeneity; Inclusive fitness; Kin competition

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