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

Allison K. Shaw, Sandra A. Binning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1457
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • disease ecology
  • environmental gradient
  • evolutionarily stable strategy
  • host–parasite interaction
  • mathematical model
  • movement ecology
  • pathogen infection

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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