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The co-evolution of multiply-informed dispersal: information transfer across landscapes from neighbors and immigrants

Author(s): Alexis S. Chaine | St├ęphane Legendre | Jean Clobert

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e44;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Social information | Dispersal | Immigrant-dependent | Meta-population | Density-dependent | Evolution | Adaptive dynamics

Dispersal plays a key role in natural systems by shaping spatial population and evolutionary dynamics. Dispersal has been largely treated as a population process with little attention to individual decisions and the influence of information use on the fitness benefits of dispersal despite clear empirical evidence that dispersal behavior varies among individuals. While information on local density is common, more controversial is the notion that indirect information use can easily evolve. We used an individual-based model to ask under what conditions indirect information use in dispersal will evolve. We modeled indirect information provided by immigrant arrival into a population which should be linked to overall metapopulation density. We also modeled direct information use of density which directly impacts fitness. We show that immigrant-dependent dispersal evolves and does so even when density dependent information is available. Use of two sources of information also provides benefits at the metapopulation level by reducing extinction risk and prolonging the persistence of populations. Our results suggest that use of indirect information in dispersal can evolve under conservative conditions and thus could be widespread.

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