Informed dispersal based on prospecting impacts the rate and shape of range expansions

Aurore Ponchon* (Corresponding Author), Justin Mark John Travis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Rapid progress is being made in understanding how dispersal strategies influence the spread of species whose ranges are expanding. However, potentially vital dispersal behaviours have so far been neglected. Social species have been demonstrated to use their own breeding performance (personal information) and the breeding performance of their conspecifics (public information) to inform both their emigration and settlement decisions. Here, to provide insight into how these behaviours may impact range expansion dynamics, we extend a recently-developed individual-based model that incorporates the use of personal and public information in emigration decisions and a prospecting phase informing settlement decisions. We find that compared to non-informed emigration, informed emigration results in slower range expansions, except when individuals prospect a high number of patches or when their perceptual range is high. Spread rate and also the extent of the front strongly depend upon the willingness of individuals to settle in an empty patch. Given the likely prevalence of prospecting and informed dispersal across a wide range of taxa, these results indicate an urgent need for further empirical and modelling studies to improve our understanding and predictive capability of how species exhibiting this informed dispersal strategy will respond to environmental changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06190
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

This model was initially designed during the Purple Patch Pumpkin meeting in the Corbières (France) in October 2018 and we thank all participants for fruitful discussions.

AP was funded by a European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 753420 (EcoEvoProspectS project).

Data Availability Statement

Data availability statement
The source code and outputs are available from the Zenodo Repository (<>). Codes for extracting model variables and making figures are also freely available at <>.

Supporting information
The supporting information associated with this article is available from the online version.


  • breeding success
  • colonization
  • individual-based model
  • information use
  • invasion rates
  • spread rate


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