Evolution of dispersal in spatial population models with multiple timescales

Robert Stephen Cantrell, Chris Cosner, Mark A. Lewis, Yuan Lou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We study the evolutionary stability of dispersal strategies, including but not limited to those that can produce ideal free population distributions (that is, distributions where all individuals have equal fitness and there is no net movement of individuals at equilibrium). The environment is assumed to be variable in space but constant in time. We assume that there is a separation of times scales, so that dispersal occurs on a fast timescale, evolution occurs on a slow timescale, and population dynamics and interactions occur on an intermediate timescale. Starting with advection–diffusion models for dispersal without population dynamics, we use the large time limits of profiles for population distributions together with the distribution of resources in the environment to calculate growth and interaction coefficients in logistic and Lotka–Volterra ordinary differential equations describing population dynamics. We then use a pairwise invasibility analysis approach motivated by adaptive dynamics to study the evolutionary and/or convergence stability of strategies determined by various assumptions about the advection and diffusion terms in the original advection–diffusion dispersal models. Among other results we find that those strategies which can produce an ideal free distribution are evolutionarily stable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-37
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Evolution of dispersal
  • Evolutionarily stable strategy
  • Ideal free distribution
  • Multiple timescales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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