Evolution reverses the effect of network structure on metapopulation persistence

Lisa C. McManus, Edward W. Tekwa, Daniel E. Schindler, Timothy E. Walsworth, Madhavi A. Colton, Michael M. Webster, Timothy E. Essington, Daniel L. Forrest, Stephen R. Palumbi, Peter J. Mumby, Malin L. Pinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Global environmental change is challenging species with novel conditions, such that demographic and evolutionary trajectories of populations are often shaped by the exchange of organisms and alleles across landscapes. Current ecological theory predicts that random networks with dispersal shortcuts connecting distant sites can promote persistence when there is no capacity for evolution. Here, we show with an eco-evolutionary model that dispersal shortcuts across environmental gradients instead hinder persistence for populations that can evolve because long-distance migrants bring extreme trait values that are often maladaptive, short-circuiting the adaptive response of populations to directional change. Our results demonstrate that incorporating evolution and environmental heterogeneity fundamentally alters theoretical predictions regarding persistence in ecological networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere03381
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • dispersal network
  • eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • environmental heterogeneity
  • metapopulations
  • population persistence
  • random network
  • regular network


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution reverses the effect of network structure on metapopulation persistence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this