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Dispersal evolution in the presence of allee effects can speed up or slow down invasions


Shaw, Allison K; Kokko, Hanna (2015). Dispersal evolution in the presence of allee effects can speed up or slow down invasions. The American Naturalist, 185(5):631-639.

Abstract

Successful invasions by sexually reproducing species depend on the ability of individuals to mate. Finding mates can be particularly challenging at low densities (a mate-finding Allee effect), a factor that is only implicitly accounted for by most invasion models, which typically assume asexual populations. Existing theory on singlesex populations suggests that dispersal evolution in the presence of amate-finding Allee effect slows invasions. Here we develop a two-sex model to determine how mating system, strength of an Allee effect, and dispersal evolution influence invasion speed. We show that mating system differences can dramatically alter the spread rate. We also find a broader spectrum of outcomes than earlier work suggests. Allowing dispersal to evolve in a spreading context can sometimes alleviate the mate-finding Allee effect and slow the rate of spread. However, we demonstrate the opposite when resource competition among females remains high: evolution then acts to speed up the spread rate, despite simultaneously exacerbating the Allee effect. Our results highlight the importance of the timing of mating relative to dispersal and the strength of resource competition for consideration in future empirical studies.

Abstract

Successful invasions by sexually reproducing species depend on the ability of individuals to mate. Finding mates can be particularly challenging at low densities (a mate-finding Allee effect), a factor that is only implicitly accounted for by most invasion models, which typically assume asexual populations. Existing theory on singlesex populations suggests that dispersal evolution in the presence of amate-finding Allee effect slows invasions. Here we develop a two-sex model to determine how mating system, strength of an Allee effect, and dispersal evolution influence invasion speed. We show that mating system differences can dramatically alter the spread rate. We also find a broader spectrum of outcomes than earlier work suggests. Allowing dispersal to evolve in a spreading context can sometimes alleviate the mate-finding Allee effect and slow the rate of spread. However, we demonstrate the opposite when resource competition among females remains high: evolution then acts to speed up the spread rate, despite simultaneously exacerbating the Allee effect. Our results highlight the importance of the timing of mating relative to dispersal and the strength of resource competition for consideration in future empirical studies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:09 Dec 2015 10:19
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:34
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0003-0147
Additional Information:© 2015 by The University of Chicago
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/680511
Related URLs:http://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t59t0

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