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Heritability of dispersal in the great reed warbler

  • Bengt Hansson
  • Staffan Bensch
  • Dennis Hasselquist
Publishing year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 290-294
Publication/Series: Ecology Letters
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Dispersal is commonly considered to be a condition-dependent behaviour with no or low heritability. Here, we show that dispersal in the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus ) has a high heritability. Analyses of capture-recapture data of male great reed warblers gathered from the species' whole Swedish breeding range revealed a remarkable offspring-parent resemblance in dispersal behaviour (philopatry vs. inter-population dispersal). Also, the degree of dispersal differed between cohorts, which shows that dispersal was partly conditionally dependent. The offspring to mid-parent estimate of heritability was 0.50. In a previous study of the same data set of male offspring, we did not detect associations between dispersal and several relevant environmental, parental and offspring condition factors. Thus, our results indicate that variation in dispersal partly has a genetic basis in great reed warblers.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Long-term study of great reed warblers
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1461-023X
Dennis Hasselquist
E-mail: dennis [dot] hasselquist [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 37 08



Research group


Doctoral students and postdocs

Research fellows


Jacob Roved

PhD Students, main supervisor

PhD Students, assistant supervisor


Interview about my research in the Swedish podcast "Forskarn & jag"