T. Nurmi and K. Parvinen (2011)
Joint evolution of specialization and dispersal in structured metapopulations
Journal of Theoretical Biology 275, 78-92
Available online


Abstract

We study the joint evolution of dispersal and specialization concerning resource usage in a mechanistically underpinned structured discrete-time metapopulation model. We show that dispersal significantly affects the evolution of specialization and that specialization is a key factor that determines the possibility of evolutionary branching in dispersal propensity. Allowing both dispersal propensity and specialization to evolve as a consequence of natural selection is necessary in order to understand the evolutionary dynamics. The joint evolution of dispersal and specialization forms a natural evolutionary path leading to the coexistence of generalists and specialists. We show that in this process, the number of different patch types and the resource distribution are essential.

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