Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
dispersalthe act of disseminating or scattering the seeds of plants, or the larvae of animals (particularly important in sessile animals), or any movement of adults. Animal larvae may be mobile, but the dispersal of spores, seeds and fruits is brought about by wind, water and animals, and in some plants explosive mechanisms are present.
Many mechanisms exist to aid dispersal: some fruits, e.g. teasel, burdock, are hooked, becoming attached to the bodies of animals; some parasites use vectors (e.g. a mosquito in the case of the malarial parasite), to carry parasitic organisms between hosts; and some larvae of marine animals move to different layers of water where current direction may be different from the level at which the adults live. Dispersal techniques include EMIGRATION, IMMIGRATION and MIGRATION.