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Most animal and plant populations are divided into a number of local populations with some dispersal of individuals from one site to another. A theoretical investigation of the phenomenon of dispersal suggests the following consequences: Isolated and poorly accessible sites will tend to become less crowded than an average site as a result of dispersal. An episode of dispersal will result in uneven crowding at the various sites. Variation in the degree of crowding resulting from dispersal will depress the total population size of a species over its entire range. Variation in the carrying capacity with time will lead to an analogous depression of the mean population size. Spatial variation in the carrying capacities of the sites will favor a sensitive response leading to a rapid increase in the emigration rate with crowding, while variation with time will disfavor a response very sensitive to crowding. Variation in space will favor the emigration of a small fraction of the population, while variation in time will favor the emigration of a larger fraction.
Ecology © 1971 Wiley