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Keywords:

  • Comparative search;
  • competition;
  • habitat selection;
  • ideal despotic distribution;
  • natal disperser;
  • search tactics;
  • sequential search

Abstract

The silver spoon effect in the context of habitat selection occurs when dispersers in good condition are more likely to settle in high-quality habitats than dispersers in poor condition. Positive relationships between disperser condition and the quality of post-dispersal habitats are predicted by at least two non-exclusive ultimate hypotheses. The competition hypothesis assumes that a disperser's condition affects its chances of competing for space or joining an established group after arriving at a high-quality habitat, while the search hypothesis assumes that a disperser's condition affects its selectivity, and hence its chances of accepting a lower-quality habitat when it is searching for a new habitat. Thus far, silver spoon effects in the context of habitat selection have been reported in only a handful of species (several birds and marine invertebrates), but this study suggests that they may be relatively common in particular species and situations.