Special Perspectives

From Individual Dispersal to Species Ranges: Perspectives for a Changing World

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Science  11 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5788, pp. 789-791
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128566

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Dispersal is often risky to the individual, yet the long-term survival of populations depends on having a sufficient number of individuals that move, find each other, and locate suitable breeding habitats. This tension has consequences that rarely meet our conservation or management goals. This is particularly true in changing environments, which makes the study of dispersal urgently topical in a world plagued with habitat loss, climate change, and species introductions. Despite the difficulty of tracking mobile individuals over potentially vast ranges, recent research has revealed a multitude of ways in which dispersal evolution can either constrain, or accelerate, species' responses to environmental changes.

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