Habitat stability affects dispersal and the ability to track climate change

Habitat persistence should influence dispersal ability, selecting for stronger dispersal in habitats of lower temporal stability. As standing (lentic) freshwater habitats are on average less persistent over time than running (lotic) habitats, lentic species should show higher dispersal abilities than lotic species. Assuming that climate is an important determinant of species distributions, we hypothesize that lentic species should have distributions that are closer to equilibrium with current climate, and should more rapidly track climatic changes. We tested these hypotheses using datasets from 1988 and 2006 containing all European dragon- and damselfly species. Bioclimatic envelope models showed that lentic species were closer to climatic equilibrium than lotic species. Furthermore, the models over-predicted lotic species ranges more strongly than lentic species ranges, indicating that lentic species track climatic changes more rapidly than lotic species. These results are consistent with the proposed hypothesis that habitat persistence affects the evolution of dispersal.