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Title: Recovery from infection is more likely to favour the evolution of migration than social escape from infection

Pathogen and parasite infections are increasingly recognized as powerful drivers of animal movement, including migration. Yet, infection‐related migration benefits can result from a combination of environmental and/or social conditions, which can be difficult to disentangle.

Here, we focus on two infection‐related mechanisms that can favour migration: moving to escape versus recover from infection. By directly comparing the evolution of migration in response to each mechanism, we can evaluate the likely importance of changing abiotic conditions (linked to migratory recovery) with changing social conditions (linked to migratory escape) in terms of infection‐driven migration.

We built a mathematical model and analysed it using numerically simulated adaptive dynamics to determine when migration should evolve for each migratory recovery and social migratory escape.

We found that a higher fraction of the population migrated under migratory recovery than under social migratory escape. We also found that two distinct migratory strategies (e.g. some individuals always migrate and others only occasionally migrate) sometimes coexisted within populations with social migratory escape, but never with migratory recovery.

Our results suggest that migratory recovery is more likely to promote the evolution of migratory behaviour, rather than escape from infected conspecifics (social migratory escape).

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Journal Name:
Journal of Animal Ecology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1448-1457
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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