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© 2020 British Ecological Society Dispersal is a key process in shaping species spatial distributions. Species interactions and variation in dispersal probabilities may jointly influence species spatial dynamics. However, many studies examine dispersal as a neutral process, independent of community context or intraspecific variation in dispersal behaviour. Here, we use controlled, replicated communities of two Tribolium species (T. castaneum and T. confusum) to examine how intraspecific variation in dispersal behaviour and community context influence dispersal dynamics in simple experimental landscapes composed of homogeneous habitat patches. We found considerable individual-level variation in dispersal probability that was unrelated to body size variation. Further, the context of dispersal mattered, as T. castaneum dispersal was reduced in two-species communities, while T. confusum dispersal was unaffected by community composition. Incorporating individual-level variation into a two-species stochastic spatial Ricker model, we provide evidence that individual-level variability in dispersal behaviour results in more variable spatial spread than assuming individuals have the same dispersal probability. Further, interspecific competition resulted in more variable spatial spread. The variability in spatial spread observed in our tightly controlled and replicated experimental system and in our stochastic model simulations points to potential fundamental limitations in forecasting species shifting ranges without considering potential interspecific interactions and demographic variability in dispersal behaviour.

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Journal of Animal Ecology

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