A distance–performance trade-off in the phenotypic basis of dispersal

Brett R. Addis, Bret W. Tobalske, Jon M. Davenport, Winsor H. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Across taxa, individuals vary in how far they disperse, with most individuals staying close to their origin and fewer dispersing long distances. Costs associated with dispersal (e.g., energy, risk) are widely believed to trade off with benefits (e.g., reduced competition, increased reproductive success) to influence dispersal propensity. However, this framework has not been applied to understand variation in dispersal distance, which is instead generally attributed to extrinsic environmental factors. We alternatively hypothesized that variation in dispersal distances results from trade-offs associated with other aspects of locomotor performance. We tested this hypothesis in the stream salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus and found that salamanders that dispersed farther in the field had longer forelimbs but swam at slower velocities under experimental conditions. The reduced swimming performance of long-distance dispersers likely results from drag imposed by longer forelimbs. Longer forelimbs may facilitate moving longer distances, but the proximate costs associated with reduced swimming performance may help to explain the rarity of long-distance dispersal. The historical focus on environmental drivers of dispersal distances misses the importance of individual traits and associated trade-offs among traits affecting locomotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10644-10653
Number of pages10
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume9
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • dispersal distance
  • locomotion
  • plethodontid salamanders
  • trade-off

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A distance–performance trade-off in the phenotypic basis of dispersal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this