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An Explanation for Low Dispersal Rates: a Simulation Experiment

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A model for analyzing the role of dispersal in temporally as well as spatially varying environments is discussed. The specifications of the model are best met by organisms like desert annual plants or semelparous wind-dispersing insects. The model, originally developed by KUNO (1981) and extended by METZ et al., (1983), is analyzed by simulation methods. The results are compared with those of an approximation procedure for the case of small environmental variation. The model is found to predict that (1) there is an optimal dispersal fraction, (2) this fraction is low, and (3) does not depend sensitively on the number of environmental patches. But, (4) increasing the number of patches decreases the selective pressure towards the optimal dispersal fraction.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Population Biology, Research group ecology of plants and their herbivores, Zoologisch Laboratorium, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, P.O. Box 91516, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands; 2: Institute of Theoretical Biology, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Groenhovenstraat 5, 2311 BT Leiden, The Netherlands


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