Evaluating the effects of inbreeding on dispersal (Visiting Scholar)
In nature, dispersal is common, but also risky. Dispersal, or movement among suitable habitats, can have a variety of benefits, but it can also have a lot of costs. Biologists have recognized for a long time that understanding the ups and downs of dispersal is very complicated. Namely, the benefits of dispersal can be particularly complex. One benefit is that dispersal can reduce mating with relatives. Mating with relatives, or inbreeding, can result in decreased fitness in the offspring (inbreeding depression). In my research at NESCent, I am using existing data on dispersal in both plants and animals to examine the role that inbreeding avoidance plays in the evolution of dispersal.