, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 253-260
Date: 24 Jan 2009

Coevolution of dispersal in a parasitoid–host system

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Interspecific interactions and the evolution of dispersal are both of interest when considering the potential impact of habitat fragmentation on community ecology, but the interaction between these processes is not well studied. We address this by considering the coevolution of dispersal strategies in a host–parasitoid system. An individual-based host–parasitoid metapopulation model was constructed for a patchy environment, allowing for evolution in dispersal rates of both species. Highly rarefied environments with few suitable patches selected against dispersal in both species, as did relatively static environments. Provided that parasitoids persist, all the variables studied led to stable equilibria in dispersal rates for both species. There was a tendency toward higher dispersal rates in parasitoids because of the asymmetric relationships of the two species to the patches: vacant patches are most valuable for hosts, but unsuitable for parasitoids, which require an established host population to reproduce. High host dispersal rate was favoured by high host population growth rate, and in the parasitoid by high growth rates in both species.