Looking beyond the mountain: Dispersal barriers in a changing world

Paul Caplat, Pim Edelaar, Rachael Y. Dudaniec, Andy J. Green, Beth Okamura, Julien Cote, Johan Ekroos, Per R. Jonsson, Jakob Löndahl, Sylvie Vm Tesson, Eric J. Petit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
554 Downloads (Pure)


Dispersal barriers have demographic, evolutionary, and ecosystem-wide consequences. With ongoing changes in the environment, some dispersal barriers will likely disappear while new ones will appear, and it is crucial to understand these dynamics to forecast species' distributions and adaptive potential. Here we review recent literature on the ecological and evolutionary aspects of dispersal to highlight key dynamics of dispersal barriers in the face of global change. After defining dispersal barriers, we explain that a better understanding of their dynamics requires identifying the barrier types that are most susceptible to change and predicting species' responses. This knowledge is a prerequisite for designing management strategies to increase or reduce connectivity, and maintain adaptive potential. Our intent is to motivate researchers to explicitly consider dispersal barriers in order to better forecast the dynamics of species and ecosystems subject to global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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