Collective Behavior and Social Evolution

Wednesday, June 16 at 07:45pm (PDT)
Thursday, June 17 at 03:45am (BST)
Thursday, June 17 11:45am (KST)

SMB2021 SMB2021 Follow Tuesday (Wednesday) during the "MS16" time block.
Note: this minisymposia has multiple sessions. The second session is MS18-EVOP (click here).

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Daniel Cooney (University of Pennsylvania, USA) & Olivia Chu (Princeton University, USA)


A common theme across ecology, evolutionary biology, and social science is the key role that individual-level competition and cooperation play in determining emergent phenomena at the population level. In this minisymposium, our speakers will explore how rules governing social interactions help to shape the structure of populations across a variety of systems, from the development of complex social networks and life-history strategies in animal groups to overcome the risk of infectious disease to the establishment of regulatory institutions and ideological echo chambers in human populations. Many of the talks will utilize the frameworks of evolutionary game theory and adaptive dynamics, modeling how natural selection or social learning can help shape the distribution of traits in populations over time, through genetic or cultural evolution. Mathematically, our session will feature a variety of approaches ranging from individual-based stochastic modeling to mean-field descriptions by ordinary and partial differential equations, demonstrating how collective phenomena can arise across scales of biological organization. In particular, we are hoping to bring together researchers from the dynamical systems, collective behavior, and evolutionary game theory communities to highlight common research themes and the wide range of biological settings that comprise the field of social evolution.

Heather Zinn Brooks

(Harvey Mudd College)
"Rounding out the corners: Smooth approximations for bounded-confidence models of opinion dynamics"
Abstract to be determined. Please check back later.

Vandana Venkateswaran

(University of Illinois)
"Modeling the interplay between life-history, sexual, and social traits"
Males and females have distinct life-history strategies that have co-evolved with diverse sex-specific traits. Previous studies have addressed how resource allocation towards single sex-specific traits impacts lifetime reproductive success (LRS). However, the tradeoffs between diverse sex-specific characteristics and their impact on LRS remain largely unassessed impeding our understanding of life-history evolution. We present a theoretical framework (informed by experimental data and evolutionary genetics) that explores the effects of multiple sex-specific traits and assessed how they influence LRS. From the individual sex-specific traits, we show the consequences at the population level (by evaluating adult sex ratios or ASR). We present how sex-specific resource allocation towards the assessed traits (parental investment, ornamentation and immunocompetence) resulted in a biased ASR. In general, this framework can be employed to understand the combined impact of diverse sex-specific traits on the LRS and the eventual population dynamics of particular model systems.

Taylor Kessinger

(University of Pennsylvania)
"Models of institution formation and breakdown under indirect reciprocity"
We live in a society. Societies require a high level of cooperation, and they cannot flourish unless defectors are punished. How do we ensure this? Indirect reciprocity models offer a potential solution: individuals may track the reputations of others, cooperating with those they consider good and punishing those they consider bad. But if individuals rely solely on their own private, personal assessments of others, disagreement about reputations makes it prohibitively difficult for cooperation to proliferate. We provide a mechanism for fomenting consensus about reputations: adherence to centralized institutions that track and broadcast reputational assessments. We show that, by tweaking the size of the institution and its tolerance to occasional antisocial behavior, cooperation can spread even under social norms that ordinarily are inhospitable to cooperation. We also show that adherence to institutional evaluation can spread in a population of private assessors and is robust against invasion. Finally, we consider mechanisms that may lead to the breakdown of institutional evaluation: ingroup/outgroup dynamics, corruption, competing institutions, and systemic bias. Our models underscore the importance of ensuring that institutions are fair and inclusive.

Sara Loo

(University of New South Wales)
"The evolution of learned behaviour and strategy: with applications to reproduction and disease emergence"
The question of why males invest more into competition than offspring care is an age old problem in evolutionary biology. On the one hand, paternal care could increase the fraction of offspring surviving to maturity. On the other hand, competition could increase the likelihood of more paternities and thus the relative number of offspring produced. We present a simple dynamic model to investigate the benefits of these two alternative fitness-enhancing pathways. Using this framework, we evaluate the sensitivity of equilibrium dynamics to changes in payoffs for male allocation to mating versus parenting. We then consider an application of the model that includes men’s competition for hunting reputations where big game supplies a benefit to all and find a frequency-dependent parameter region within which either strategy may outperform the other. Results demonstrate that allocation to competition gives males greater fitness than offspring care for a range of circumstances that are dependent on life-history parameters and, for the large-game hunting application, frequency dependent. We then consider an extension to the model that explores the effect of female life-history on male reproductive strategies and compare three different life histories to study conditions where paternal care may arise. This is driven by observations of paternal care in callitrichids.

Hosted by SMB2021 Follow
Virtual conference of the Society for Mathematical Biology, 2021.