Article: article from journal or magazin.
Mother-offspring competition promotes colonization success.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Colonization is the crucial process underlying range expansions, biological invasions, and metapopulation dynamics. Which individuals leave their natal population to colonize empty habitats is a crucial question and is presently unresolved. Dispersal is the first step in colonization. However, not all dispersing individuals are necessarily good colonizers. Indeed, in some species, the phenotype of dispersers differs depending on the selective pressures that induce dispersal. In particular, kin-based interactions, a factor driving social evolution, should induce different social response profiles in nondispersing and dispersing individuals. Kin competition (defined here as between the mother and offspring) has been proven to produce dispersers with a particular phenotype that may enhance their colonizing ability. By using the common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), we conducted a multipopulation experiment to study the effect of kin competition on dispersal and colonization success. We manipulated mother-offspring interactions, which are the most important component of kin competition in the studied species, at the family and population levels and measured the consequences on colonization success. We demonstrate that mother-offspring competition at the population level significantly influences colonization success. Increased competition at the population level enhanced the colonization rate of the largest juveniles as well as the growth and survival of the colonizers. Based on these results, we calculated that kin-induced colonization halves the extinction probability of a newly initiated population. Because interactions between relatives are likely to affect the ability of a species to track habitat modifications, kin-based dispersal should be considered in the study of invasion dynamics and metapopulation functioning.
Animals, Body Weights and Measures, Competitive Behavior/physiology, Ecosystem, France, Lizards/physiology, Maternal Behavior/physiology, Models, Biological, Population Dynamics, Social Behavior, Spatial Behavior/physiology
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