The color of noise and the evolution of dispersal


  • Justin M. J. Travis

    1. Department of Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *Present address: Centre for Biosphere–Geosphere Studies, C/- Climate Impacts Group, Department of Ecology/Plant Ecology, Ekologihuset, Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. Email:


The process of dispersal is vital for the long-term persistence of all species and hence is a ubiquitous characteristic of living organisms. A present challenge is to increase our understanding of the factors that govern the dispersal rate of individuals. Here I extend previous work by incorporating both spatial and temporal heterogeneity in terms of patch quality into a spatially explicit lattice model. The spatial heterogeneity is modeled as a two-dimensional fractal landscape, while temporal heterogeneity is included by using one-dimensional noise. It was found that the color of both the spatial and temporal variability influences the rate of dispersal selected as reddening of the temporal noise leads to a reduction in dispersal, while reddening of spatial variability results in an increase in the dispersal rate. These results demonstrate that the color of environmental noise should be considered in future studies looking at the evolution of life history characteristics.