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Evolution of migration rate in a spatially realistic metapopulation model.

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Title: Evolution of migration rate in a spatially realistic metapopulation model.
Author: Heino,-M; Hanski,-I
Citation: American-Naturalist. 2001; 157(5): 495-511
ISSN: 0003-0147
Abstract: We use an individual-based, spatially realistic metapopulation model to study the evolution of migration rate. We first explore the consequences of habitat change in hypothetical patch networks on a regular lattice. If the primary consequence of habitat change is an increase in local extinction risk as a result of decreased local population sizes, migration rate increases. A nonmonotonic response, with migration rate decreasing at high extinction rate, was obtained only by assuming very frequent catastrophes. If the quality of the matrix habitat deteriorates, leading to increased mortality during migration, the evolutionary response is more complex. As long as habitat patch occupancy does not decrease markedly with increased migration mortality, reduced migration rate evolves. However, once mortality becomes so high that empty patches remain uncolonized for a long time, evolution tends to increase migration rate, which may lead to an "evolutionary rescue" in a fragmented landscape. Kin competition has a quantitative effect on the evolution of migration rate in our model, but these patterns in the evolution of migration rate appear to be primarily caused by spatiotemporal variation in fitness and mortality during migration. We apply the model to real habitat patch networks occupied by two checkerspot butterfly species (Melitaea cinxia and M. diamina) for which sufficient data are available to estimate rigorously most of the model parameters. The model-predicted migration rate is not significantly different from the empirically observed one. Regional variation in patch areas and connectivities leads to regional variation in the optimum migration rate, predictions that can be tested empirically.
URI: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1086/319927
Date: 2001

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