A Guide to Random, Clumped, and Uniformed Dispersion
Dispersion is how a type of species will group and space itself. There are three types of dispersion: uniformed, random, and clumped. To some degree, the method of dispersion of any given species is affected by different environmental impacts that are either abiotic, meaning that they are non-biological, or biotic, meaning biological, or a combination of the two. Biotic factors could include availability of food and mating opportunities, predation, or disease. Abiotic factors include climate, land distribution, and availability of shelter and water.
Uniformed dispersion is characterized by the equal spacing between each organism within the species. You see this often with territorial birds that nest as well as plants that inhibit the growth of nearby plants. For example, sage naturally secretes a chemical toxin that kills off surrounding plant life within a radius. This creates a barrier around the sage plant that will only let anything grow outside of the radius of the toxin, creating a naturally occurring uniformed dispersion. You will often see farms use a uniformed dispersion, but these do not typically occur naturally. Most farmed plants would have a random dispersion naturally.
You see random dispersion most often with wild plants that germinate wherever they land from seeds carried by the wind. With this type of dispersion, random clumps of a wild plant are followed by periodic singular plants. You may see random dispersion occurring naturally in any species where the environment is a constant and doesn’t have interactions with other species (for example, there is no predator-prey dynamic). Some sea creatures will live in random dispersion, as a water current can have a similar effect to that of wind.
Clumped dispersion is the most common type of dispersion found in nature. Many species minimize the distance between other members of the herd, school, or crowd. The biological and ecological factors often include:
- Clumping around a necessary resource such as food or water
- Herd mentality to reduce predator impact
- Offspring care for juveniles that are dependent upon parental protection
- Pact mentality to improve prey hunting