The dynamics of range formation are important for understanding and predicting species distributions. Here, we focus on a process that has thus far been overlooked in the context of range formation; the accumulation of mutation load. We find that mutation accumulation severely reduces the extent of a range across an environmental gradient, especially when dispersal is limited, growth rate is low and mutations are of intermediate deleterious effect. Our results illustrate the important role deleterious mutations can play in range formation. We highlight this as a necessary focus for further work, noting particularly the potentially conflicting effects dispersal may have in reducing mutation load and simultaneously increasing migration load in marginal populations.
- mutation load
- range formation
- environmental gradients
- species range
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Henry, R. C. (Contributor), Bartoń, K. A. (Contributor) & Travis, J. (Contributor), DRYAD, 1 Jan 2014