Climate warming, dispersal inhibition and extinction risk



    1. Laboratoire Ecologie-Evolution, Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, CNRS UMR 7625, 7 quai Saint Bernard, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France,
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    1. Station d'Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS à Moulis, USR 2936, 09200 Saint-Girons, France,
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    1. Laboratoire Ecologie-Evolution, CNRS UMR 7625, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cedex 05, France,
    2. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Manuel Massot, tel. +33 1 4427 2720, fax +33 1 4427 3516, e-mail:


Global warming impels species to track their shifting habitats or adapt to new conditions. Both processes are critically influenced by individual dispersal. In many animals, dispersal behaviour is plastic, but how organisms with plastic dispersal respond to climate change is basically unknown. Here, we report the analysis of interannual dispersal change from 16 years of monitoring a wild population of the common lizard, and a 12-year manipulation of lizards' diet intended to disentangle the direct effect of temperature rise on dispersal from its effects on resource availability. We show that juvenile dispersal has declined dramatically over the last 16 years, paralleling the rise of spring temperatures during embryogenesis. A mesoscale model of metapopulation dynamics predicts that in general dispersal inhibition will elevate the extinction risk of metapopulations exposed to contrasting effects of climate warming.