Aug 26, 2014

The downward spiral: eco-evolutionary feedback loops lead to the emergence of ‘elastic’ ranges

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexander KubischEmanuel A Fronhofer


In times of severe environmental changes and resulting shifts in the geographical distribution of animal and plant species it is crucial to unravel the mechanisms responsible for the dynamics of species’ ranges. Without such a mechanistic understanding reliable projections of future species distributions are difficult to derive. Species’ ranges may be highly dynamic and subject to ‘elastic’ behavior, i.e. a range contraction following a period of range expansion. It has been proposed that this phenomenon occurs in habitat gradients, which are characterized by a negative cline in selection for dispersal from the range core towards the margin, as one may find with increasing patch isolation, for example. Using individual-based simulations and numerical analyses we show that Allee effects are an important determinant of range border elasticity. If only intra-specific processes are considered, Allee effects are even a necessary condition for ranges to exhibit elastic behavior. The eco-evolutionary interplay between dispersal evolution, Allee effects and habitat isolation leads to lower colonization probability and higher local extinction risk after range expansions, which result in an increasing amount of marginal sink patches and,...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Projections and Predictions
Isolation Aspects
Contraction (Finding)
Cell Growth
Clinitrachus argentatus

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