Published in The American Naturalist, Volume 175, Issue 3, March 1, 2010, pages E66-E73.
Copyright © 2010 University Of Chicago Press.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Shannon J. McCauley was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/650444.
There is increasing evidence of intraspecific variation in dispersal behavior. Individual differences in dispersal behavior may be correlated with other traits that determine the impact individuals have on patches they colonize. We established habitat patches—artificial pools—across a landscape, and these pools were naturally colonized by dragonfly larvae. Larvae were collected from pools at different levels of isolation and held under common lab conditions for 5 months. We then compared larval foraging rates. Foraging rate was positively related to habitat isolation, and colonists from the most isolated artificial pools had significantly higher foraging rates than individuals from the least isolated pools. Our results indicate that spatial patterns in colonist behavior can develop across a landscape independent of species-level dispersal limitation. This finding suggests that studies of community structure across space should include an assessment of the distribution of phenotypes as well as species-level dispersal limitation patterns.