Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 851–871

Habitat matching and spatial heterogeneity of phenotypes: implications for metapopulation and metacommunity functioning

  • Staffan Jacob
  • Elvire Bestion
  • Delphine Legrand
  • Jean Clobert
  • Julien Cote
Original Paper

Abstract

Spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of phenotypes among populations is of major importance for species evolution and ecosystem functioning. Dispersal has long been assumed to homogenise populations in structured landscapes by generating maladapted gene flows, making spatial heterogeneity of phenotypes traditionally considered resulting from local adaptation or plasticity. However, there is accumulating evidence that individuals, instead of dispersing randomly in the landscapes, adjust their dispersal decisions according to their phenotype and the environmental conditions. Specifically, individuals might move in the landscape to find and settle in the environmental conditions that best match their phenotype, therefore maximizing their fitness, a hypothesis named habitat matching. Although habitat matching and associated non-random gene flows can produce spatial phenotypic heterogeneity, their potential consequences for metapopulation and metacommunity functioning are still poorly understood. Here, we discuss evidence for intra and interspecific drivers of habitat matching, and highlight the potential consequences of this process for metapopulation and metacommunity functioning. We conclude that habitat matching might deeply affect the eco-evolutionary dynamics of meta-systems, pointing out the need for further empirical and theoretical research on its incidence and implications for species and communities evolution under environmental changes.

Keywords

Gene flow Dispersal decision Intraspecific variability Habitat matching Environmental conditions Interspecific interactions 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Staffan Jacob
    • 1
  • Elvire Bestion
    • 1
  • Delphine Legrand
    • 2
  • Jean Clobert
    • 1
  • Julien Cote
    • 3
  1. 1.Station d’Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS à MoulisUSR CNRS 2936MoulisFrance
  2. 2.Biodiversity Research Centre, Earth and Life InstituteUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratoire Evolution and Diversité Biologique, UMR 5174Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse IIIToulouseFrance

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