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Foray search: An effective systematic dispersal strategy in fragmented landscapes

By L Conradt, P A Zollner, T J Roper, K Frank and C D Thomas

Abstract

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, population models generally assume that the dispersal trajectories of animals are random, but systematic dispersal could be more efficient at detecting new habitat and may therefore constitute a more realistic assumption. Here, we investigate, by means of simulations, the properties of a potentially widespread systematic dispersal strategy termed "foray search." Foray search was more efficient in detecting suitable habitat than was random dispersal in most landscapes and was less subject to energetic constraints. However, it also resulted in considerably shorter net dispersed distances and higher mortality per net dispersed distance than did random dispersal, and it would therefore be likely to lead to lower dispersal rates toward the margins of population networks. Consequently, the use of foray search by dispersers could crucially affect the extinction-colonization balance of metapopulations and the evolution of dispersal rates. We conclude that population models need to take the dispersal trajectories of individuals into account in order to make reliable predictions

Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:1293

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