A brief review of recent metapopulation literature indicates that dispersal functions are generally highly simplified. We suggest that this oversight can often make the results of such models misleading. A number of factors are considered that can affect the patterns and functions of this potentially complex process, including conditional and “intel-ligent” dispersal, and dispersal distance. If a system is to be considered in spatially explicit terms then dispersal is an essential component. It follows therefore that a more thorough consideration of this fundamental population process is to be encouraged.