Dispersal and speciation in a complex habitat

Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Ben Haller

Ben Haller

For Darwin, the origin of species was the “mystery of mysteries,” and it remains poorly understood even today. Speciation, as the process that generated much of the biodiversity in the world today, is fundamental to the nature of life; it is thus clearly worthy of study in its own right.

A better understanding of speciation also has consequences for conservation biology and for the mitigation of anthropogenic ecological disturbances. It has previously been shown that adaptation to a local environment and local competition for resources can promote speciation. This project will investigate the effects of spatial environmental variation and dispersal distance on speciation dynamics and the resultant biodiversity patterns. Time permitting, temporal environmental variation and the evolution of dispersal and mate choice may also be explored within this framework. This research will be conducted using an individual-based evolutionary model, building on previous work in IIASA’s Evolution and Ecology Program.

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Last edited: 24 March 2016

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