Evolution of dispersal strategies and dispersal syndromes in fragmented landscapes

Julien Cote, Elvire Bestion, Staffan Jacob, Justin Travis, Delphine Legrand, Michel Baguette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Habitat fragmentation, an important element of current global change, has
profound repercussions on population and species extinction. Landscape
fragmentation reduces individual movements between patches (i.e.
dispersal) while such movements connecting patches enhance the
persistence of metapopulations and metacommunities. Through the
recognition of non-random movements, dispersal has recently been
recognized as a highly complex process. This complexity likely changes the
predictions on the evolution of dispersal in spatially structured populations
and communities. In this article, we emphasize the effects of
fragmentation on the evolution of non-random dispersal. Habitat
fragmentation may shape local and global selective pressures acting on a
large array of phenotypic traits known to covary with dispersal behaviors.
On top of changes in dispersal propensity, habitat fragmentation could
therefore modify dispersal syndromes (i.e. dispersers’ phenotypic
specializations). Habitat fragmentation often leads to spatial structuring of
local conditions and consequently may lead to the evolution of different
dispersal syndromes at the landscape scale. By neglecting impacts on
dispersal syndromes, we might underestimate the impacts of
fragmentation on a crucial biodiversity level for metapopulation and
metacommunity functioning. We highlight a set of priorities for future
empirical and theoretical work that together would provide the
understanding of eco-evolutionary dynamics of dispersal syndromes
required for improving our ability to predict and manage spatially
structured populations and communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-73
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funded by ERA-Net BiodivERsA


  • fragmentation
  • dispersal syndromes
  • non-random gene flow


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