Experimental evolution of dispersal: unifying theory, experiments and natural systems

Monique Lustenhouwer* (Corresponding Author), Felix Moerman, Florian Altermatt, Ronald Bassar, Greta Bocedi, Dries Bonte, Sutirth Dey, , Emanuel A Fronhofer, Érika Garcez de Rocha, Andrea Giometto, Lesley Lancaster, Robert Prather Jr, Marjo Saastamoinen, Justin Travis, Carla Urquhart, Christopher Weiss-Lehman, Jennifer Williams, Luca Börger, David Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dispersal is a central life history trait that affects the ecological and evolutionary
dynamics of populations and communities. The recent use of experimental evolution for the study of dispersal is a promising avenue for demonstrating valuable proofs of concept, bringing insight into alternative dispersal strategies and trade-offs, and testing the repeatability of evolutionary outcomes.
2. Practical constraints restrict experimental evolution studies of dispersal to a set of typically small, short-lived organisms reared in artificial laboratory conditions. Here, we argue that despite these restrictions, inferences from these studies can reinforce links between theoretical predictions and empirical observations and advance our understanding of the eco-evolutionary consequences of dispersal.
3. We illustrate how applying an integrative framework of theory, experimental evolution and natural systems can improve our understanding of dispersal evolution under more complex and realistic biological scenarios, such as the role of biotic interactions and complex dispersal syndromes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Early online date23 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2023


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