Social barriers in ecological landscapes: the social resistance hypothesis

Nicolette C. Armansin, Adam J. Stow, Mauricio Cantor, Stephan T. Leu, James A. Klarevas-Irby, Anthony A. Chariton, Damien R. Farine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Across animal societies, individuals invest time and energy in social interactions. The social landscape that emerges from these interactions can then generate barriers that limit the ability of individuals to disperse to, and reproduce in, groups or populations. Therefore, social barriers can contribute to the difference between the physical capacity for movement through the habitat and subsequent gene flow. We call this contributing effect ‘social resistance’. We propose that social resistance can act as an agent of selection on key life-history strategies and promote the evolution of social strategies that facilitate effective dispersal. By linking landscape genetics and social behaviour, the social resistance hypothesis generates predictions integrating dispersal, connectivity, and life-history evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number2
Early online date5 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • connectivity
  • dispersal
  • landscape genetics
  • reproduction
  • social environment
  • social systems


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