Our studies on dispersal highlight the role of dispersal capabilities and patterns for recovery processes. Dispersal is a key factor in recovery, but the drivers of dispersal are poorly understood. We systematically collected data on dispersal distances and the role of dispersing benthic invertebrates on community recovery, using a stratified sampling design with traps and individual measurements of morphological traits. In addition, experiments on drivers of dispersal were conducted and dispersal components were included into food-web models. We found that:

  • Macroinvertebrate dispersal follows a leptokurtic distribution, where the majority of individuals in a population exhibits limited mobility, while only a small fraction engages in extensive dispersal (Enss et al., in prep).
  • Parasite prevalence was generally higher in drifting amphipods than in stationary specimens. The prevalence in drift samples was highest during daytime, suggesting changes in host phototaxis likely related to the parasite’s mode of transmission and site of infection (see Prati et al., 2023).
  • Species reintroductions can enhance community recovery (see Tielke et al., 2023). Careful joint modification of carrying capacities, predator mortality, and reintroduction densities could even further enhance restoration success.