The evolution of density-dependent dispersal

J M J Travis, D J Murrell, C Dytham

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217 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a large body of empirical evidence suggesting that the dispersal rates of many species depend on population density, most metapopulation models assume a density-independent rate of dispersal. Similarly, studies investigating the evolution of dispersal have concentrated almost exclusively on density-independent rates of dispersal. We develop a model that allows density-dependent dispersal strategies to evolve. Our results demonstrate that a density-dependent dispersal strategy almost always evolves and that the form of the relationship depends on reproductive rate, type of competition, size of subpopulation equilibrium densities and cost of dispersal. We suggest that future metapopulation models should account for density-dependent dispersal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1842
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Issue number1431
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • metapopulation
  • lattice model
  • competition
  • condition dependent
  • equilibrium density
  • individual-based model
  • population-dynamics
  • balanced dispersal
  • spatially explicit
  • models
  • lepidoptera
  • habitat
  • consequences
  • psychidae
  • stability


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