Article

Dispersal

Ran Nathan and David Shohami

in Ecology

ISBN: 9780199830060
Published online March 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199830060-0033
Dispersal

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  • Applied Ecology (Environmental Science)
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Plant Ecology
  • Zoology and Animal Sciences

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Dispersal refers to movements of individuals or propagules that have potential consequences for gene flow within and between populations and across space; that is, dispersal is any movement from a source location (e.g., birth or breeding site) to another location where establishment and reproduction may occur. The term effective dispersal is used for events in which dispersal was followed by successful establishment and thus contributed to gene flow, as distinguished from the genuine dispersal events themselves (i.e., only the movement phase, regardless of subsequent establishment). Dispersal is a fundamental and widespread type of movement characterizing nearly all living organisms and playing a key role in determining many ecological and evolutionary processes. Consequently, the study of dispersal has a rich history, and the field is rapidly progressing today with the advancement of new technologies and theories. Yet, studies of dispersal have never formed a well-defined discipline, but rather developed as a topic relevant to biogeography, population genetics, and various subfields of ecology and evolutionary biology such as behavioral-, community-, landscape-, movement-, population-, and spatial-ecology. Overall, dispersal research has encompassed a diversity of methods developed in these multiple disciplines to address a wide range of scientific questions that can be classified into four interrelated categories: What are the general patterns of dispersal in space and time? What are the key proximate mechanisms underlying the generation of dispersal patterns? What are the ultimate drivers in the evolution of dispersal? and What are the implications of dispersal for individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems?

Article.  13617 words. 

Subjects: Applied Ecology (Environmental Science) ; Ecology and Conservation ; Plant Ecology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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