Let's move out together: a framework for the intersections between movement and mutualism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Movement is a widespread behavior across organisms and is driven in part by interspecific interactions. Generally, negative interspecific interactions (such as competition and natural enemies) are more often studied in the context of movement than positive interactions (mutualism). Mutualistic relationships are incredibly common, yet only a subset are studied in the context of movement (transportation mutualisms). Overall, the costs and benefits that an individual experiences are shaped both by their movement behavior and their mutualistic relationships, as well as the intersection between these. Here we argue that the intersection between movement behavior and mutualistic relationships is understudied, and we present a conceptual framework to synthesize the links between movement and mutualisms and give examples of species that exhibit each. Our framework serves both to highlight the ways that mutualism can shape movement (and vice versa) and to draw parallels across different organisms (enabling a more abstract perspective of these biological systems, complementing the system-focused perspective). Finally, we show how considering movement in light of mutualisms (and vice versa) presents a number of new research questions to be answered by each empirical and theoretical approach going forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere03419
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank G. May and J. Bronstein for helpful discussions, and J. Bronstein and two anonymous reviewers for manuscript feedback. AKS conceived of the project idea; all authors (AKS, NN, DES) carried out the work and wrote the paper together.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the Ecological Society of America


  • dispersal
  • facilitation
  • foraging
  • host–microbe interaction
  • invasion
  • microbiome
  • migration
  • plant–insect interaction
  • pollination
  • seed dispersal
  • species interaction
  • symbiosis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Let's move out together: a framework for the intersections between movement and mutualism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this