Speciation and the evolution of dispersal along environmental gradients

Heinz SK, Mazzucco R, & Dieckmann U (2009). Speciation and the evolution of dispersal along environmental gradients. Evolutionary Ecology 23 (1): 53-70. DOI:10.1007/s10682-008-9251-7.

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Abstract

We analyze the joint evolution of an ecological character and of dispersal distance in asexual and sexual populations inhabiting an environmental gradient. Several interesting phenomena resulting from the evolutionary interplay of these characters are revealed. First, asexual and sexual populations exhibit two analogous evolutionary regimes, in which either speciation in the ecological character occurs in conjunction with evolution of short-range dispersal, or dispersal distance remains high and speciation does not occur. Second, transitions between these two regimes qualitatively differ between asexual and sexual populations, with the former showing speciation with long-range dispersal and the latter showing no speciation with short-range dispersal. Third, a phenotypic gradient following the environmental gradient occurs only in the last case, i.e., for non-speciating sexual populations evolving towards short-range dispersal. Fourth, the transition between the evolutionary regimes of long-range dispersal with no speciation and short-range dispersal with speciation is typically abrupt, mediated by a positive feedback between incipient speciation and the evolution of short-range dispersal. Fifth, even though the model of sexual evolution analyzed here does not permit assortative mating preferences, speciation occurs for a surprisingly wide range of conditions. This illustrates that dispersal evolution is a powerful alternative to preference evolution in enabling spatially distributed sexual populations to respond to frequency- dependent disruptive selection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Speciation; Dispersal; Gradient; Cline; Sexual reproduction; Frequency-dependent selection
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Postdoctoral Scholars (PDS)
Bibliographic Reference: Evolutionary Ecology; 23(1):53-70 (January 2009)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 11:39
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/8893

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