• commensalism;
  • dispersal;
  • individual-based model;
  • interspecific interaction;
  • metacommunity;
  • mutualism;
  • parasitism


Theoretical studies on the evolution of dispersal in metacommunities are rare despite empirical evidence suggesting that interspecific interactions can modify dispersal behaviour of organisms. To understand the role of species interactions for dispersal evolution, we utilize an individual-based model of a metacommunity where local population dynamics follows a stochastic version of the Nicholson–Bailey model and dispersal probability is an evolving trait. Our results show that in comparison with a neutral system (commensalism), parasitism promotes dispersal of hosts and parasites, while mutualism tends to reduce dispersal in both partners. Search efficiency of guests (only in the case of parasitism), dispersal mortality and external extinction risk can influence the evolution of dispersal of all partners. In systems composed of two host and two guest species, lower dispersal probabilities evolve under parasitism as well as mutualism than in one host and one guest species systems. This is because of frequency-dependent modulations of dispersal benefits emerging in such systems for all partners.