Island models denote a distributed system of evolutionary algorithms which operate independently, but occasionally share their solutions with each other along the so-called migration topology. We investigate the impact of the migration topology by introducing a simplified island model with behavior similar to (Formula presented.) islands optimizing the so-called Maze fitness function (KÃ¶tzing and Molter in Proceedings of parallel problem solving from nature (PPSN XII), Springer, Berlin, pp 113â€“122, 2012). Previous work has shown that when a complete migration topology is used, migration must not occur too frequently, nor too soon before the optimum changes, to track the optimum of the Maze function. We show that using a sparse migration topology alleviates these restrictions. More specifically, we prove that there exist choices of model parameters for which using a unidirectional ring of logarithmic diameter as the migration topology allows the model to track the oscillating optimum through nMaze-like phases with high probability, while using any graph of diameter less than (Formula presented.) for some sufficiently small constant (Formula presented.) results in the island model losing track of the optimum with overwhelming probability. Experimentally, we show that very frequent migration on a ring topology is not an effective diversity mechanism, while a lower migration rate allows the ring topology to track the optimum for a wider range of oscillation patterns. When migration occurs only rarely, we prove that dense migration topologies of small diameter may be advantageous. Combined, our results show that the sparse migration topology is able to track the optimum through a wider range of oscillation patterns, and cope with a wider range of migration frequencies.