Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Evolutionary dynamics of shared niche construction

Evolutionary dynamics of shared niche construction

Many species engage in niche construction that ultimately leads to an increase in the carrying capacity of the population. We have investigated how the specificity of this behaviour affects evolutionary dynamics using a set of coupled logistic equations, where the carrying capacity of each genotype consists of two components: an intrinsic part and a contribution from all genotypes present in the population. The relative contribution of the two components is controlled by a specificity parameter $\gamma$, and we show that the ability of a mutant to invade a resident population depends strongly on this parameter. When the carrying capacity is intrinsic, selection is almost exclusively for mutants with higher carrying capacity, while a shared carrying capacity yields selection purely on growth rate. This result has important implications for our understanding of niche construction, in particular the evolutionary dynamics of tumor growth.
on the arXiv:  http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.0757
or the bioRxiv: http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2014/02/05/002378