Hastings, A. and S. Gavrilets. 1999. ``Global dispersal reduces local diversity'' Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 266 : 2067-2070 (PDF)


Metapopulation models and stepping stone models in genetics are based on very different underlying dispersal structures, yet it can be difficult to distinguish the behaviour of the two kinds of models. We demonstrate a striking qualitative difference in the equilibrium behaviors possible with these two kinds of dispersal. If, in a local patch, there are multiple stable equilibria (and consequently an unstable equilibrium), we demonstrate that, for the spatial system with a metapopulation structure, at equilibrium every patch has to be near one of the stable equilibria. This contrasts with the clinal structure possible with a stepping stone or continuous space model, and thus the result can be used to deduce qualitative information about the form of dispersal from observations of allele frequencies.