Evol Ecol Res 3: 15-25 (2001)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The evolution of dispersal from source to sink populations

Howard B. Wilson

Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK

e-mail: h.b.wilson@ic.ac.uk


The evolutionary stability of dispersal from source to sink populations has been demonstrated only for models based on contest competition. Models based on declining reproductive value with density show that dispersal from source to sink populations is only stable when there is temporal heterogeneity. In this note, I show that dispersal from source to sink habitat can be evolutionarily stable in a temporally stable environment provided: (i) there is back-migration to the source and (ii) it is easier to disperse between habitat types than within a habitat type. This second condition is very stringent and is unlikely to be achieved in most conditions but could possibly be realized by the spatial arrangement of habitat. Because of emigration of individuals from source to sink habitat, it is possible for an evolutionarily stable dispersal rate to evolve that means the population in the source habitat becomes dependent on migration from the sink to persist.

Keywords: dispersal, evolution, migration, population models, source–sink, spatial heterogeneity.

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