Modelling dispersal of a temperate insect in a changing climate

Richard J. Walters, Mark Hassall, Mark G. Telfer, Godfrey M. Hewitt, Jean P. Palutikof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct a novel individual-based random-walk model to assess how predicted global climate change might affect the dispersal rates of a temperate insect. Using a novel approach we obtained accurate field measurements of daily movements for individuals over time to parameterize our model. Males were found to move significantly further on average than females. Significant variation in movement was evident among individuals; the most dispersive individuals moved up to five (females) and seven (males) times as far on average as the least dispersive individuals. Mean relative daily movement of both males and females were exponentially related to maximum daily temperature recorded within the grass sward. Variability, both within and among individuals, in relative daily movement was incorporated into the model using gamma probability distributions. Resultant dispersal functions for seasonal movement are predicted to be highly leptokurtic, which agrees well with observations from the field. Predictions of the model suggest that for populations at the polewards edge of the current range an increase of 3-5 °C in daily maximum temperature may increase the proportion of long-distance dispersere (those characterized as comprising the top 0.1% of furthest dispersing individuals under local conditions experienced during the 1963-1990 period) by up to 70%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2017-2023
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1597
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 22
Externally publishedYes

Free keywords

  • Dispersal curve
  • Gene-flow
  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Orthoptera
  • Range expansion
  • Weather


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