Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Determinants and consequences of dispersal in vertebrates with complex life cycles: a review of pond-breeding amphibians

March 31, 2020

Dispersal is a central process in ecology and evolution. It strongly influences the dynamics of spatially structured populations, by affecting population growth rate and local colonization-extinction processes. Dispersal can also influence evolutionary processes because it determines rates and patterns of gene flow in spatially structured populations and is closely linked to local adaptation. For these reasons, dispersal has received considerable attention from ecologists and evolutionary biologists. However, although it has been studied extensively in taxa such as birds and mammals, much less is known about dispersal in vertebrates with complex life cycles such as pond-breeding amphibians. Over the past two decades, researchers have taken an interest in amphibian dispersal and initiated both fundamental and applied studies, using a broad range of experimental and observational approaches. This body of research reveals complex dispersal patterns, causations and syndromes, with dramatic consequences for the demography and genetics of amphibian populations. In this review, our goals are to (1) redefine and clarify the concept of amphibian dispersal, (2) review current knowledge about the effects of individual (i.e., condition-dependent dispersal) and environmental (i.e., context-dependent dispersal) factors during the three stages of dispersal (i.e., emigration, immigration, transience), (3) identify the demographic and genetic consequences of dispersal in spatially structured amphibian populations, and (4) propose new research avenues to extend our understanding of amphibian dispersal. In particular, we emphasize the need to (1) quantify dispersal rate and distance rigorously using suitable model systems, (2) investigate the genetic basis and dispersal evolution patterns, and (3) examine dispersal-related eco-evolutionary dynamics. These proposed research avenues tap from the recent advances in quantitative and molecular methods and have the potential to improve our understanding of dispersal in organisms with complex life cycles.

Publication Year 2020
Title Determinants and consequences of dispersal in vertebrates with complex life cycles: a review of pond-breeding amphibians
DOI 10.1086/707862
Authors H Cayuela, V Valenzuela-Sanchez, L Teulier, I Martinez-Solano, J Lena, J Merila, Erin L. Muths, R Shine, L Quay, M Denoel, J Clobert, B. Schmidt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Quarterly Review of Biology
Index ID 70215424
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center