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Dispersal evolution diminishes the negative density dependence in dispersal


Dey, Sutirth; Mishra, Abhishek; Chakraborty, Partha Pratim; Dey, Sutirth (2020), Dispersal evolution diminishes the negative density dependence in dispersal, Dryad, Dataset,


In many organisms, dispersal varies with the local population density. Such patterns of density-dependent dispersal (DDD) are expected to shape the dynamics, spatial spread and invasiveness of populations. Despite their ecological importance, empirical evidence for the evolution of DDD patterns remains extremely scarce. This is especially relevant because rapid evolution of dispersal traits has now been empirically confirmed in several taxa. Changes in DDD of dispersing populations could help clarify not only the role of DDD in dispersal evolution, but also the possible pattern of subsequent range expansion. Here, we investigate the relationship between dispersal evolution and DDD using a long-term experimental evolution study on Drosophila melanogaster. We compared the DDD patterns of four dispersal-selected populations and their non-selected controls. The control populations showed negative DDD, which was stronger in females than in males. In contrast, the dispersal-selected populations showed density-independent dispersal, where neither males nor females exhibited DDD. We compare our results with previous evolutionary predictions that focused largely on positive DDD, and highlight how the direction of evolutionary change depends on the initial DDD pattern of a population. Finally, we discuss the implications of DDD evolution for spatial ecology and evolution.


This data was collected from laboratory experiments on Drosophila populations. The data given here is the numbers as recorded directly from the experiments, with no processing.

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Science and Engineering Research Board, Award: CRG/2018/001333