Parvinen, K., M. Egas (2004)
Dispersal and the evolution of specialisation in a two-habitat type metapopulation
Theoretical Population Biology 66, 233-248
Available online


Metapopulation theory for the evolution of specialisation is virtually absent. In this article, therefore, we study a metapopulation model for consumers with a fitness trade-off between two habitats. We focus on effects of habitat abundance, dispersal rate and trade-off strength on the evolution of specialisation under two types of trade-off. Adaptation affects either the intrinsic growth rates r or the carrying capacities K. Depending on dispersal rate and trade-off strength, evolution can result in one generalist, one specialist or two specialist types. Higher dispersal rate and a weaker trade-off favour the evolution of a generalist, for both trade-off structures. However, we also find differences between the two trade-off structures. Our results are qualitatively similar to analyses of two-patch models, suggesting that insights from such simpler models can be extrapolated to metapopulation models. Additional effects, however, occur because in classical metapopulations patch lifetime depends on extinction rate. Counterintuitively, this favours the evolution of specialisation when the trade-off affects r.

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