Tortoise and the Hare: On the Contribution of Evolvability to Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Competing Species

Tuesday, June 15 at 03:15pm (PDT)
Tuesday, June 15 at 11:15pm (BST)
Wednesday, June 16 07:15am (KST)

SMB2021 SMB2021 Follow Tuesday (Wednesday) during the "PS02" time block.
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Anuraag Bukkuri

Moffitt Cancer Center
"Tortoise and the Hare: On the Contribution of Evolvability to Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Competing Species"
Evolvability, the capacity for a population to generate heritable variation and respond to natural selection, is a fundamental concept influencing the adaptations and fitness of individual organisms. For many species, evolvability may be a trait that is subject to natural selection. Evolvability plays a critical role in eco-evolutionary dynamics and may help us understand how species respond to changes in their environment and how species coexistence can arise and be maintained. We create a model of competing species, each with a different evolvability. We then analyze the population and strategy dynamics of the two populations under the conditions of clade initiation, evolutionary tracking, adaptive radiation, and evolutionary rescue. We find that more stable environments favor slower evolving species, while unstable environments favor faster evolving ones. When several niches are available for species to occupy, slower evolving species outcompete faster evolving ones due to the cost of evolvability. Finally, we promote coexistence by disrupting the environment at intermediate frequencies, allowing for cyclical population dynamics of species with differential evolvabilities. Though we frame our discussion in the context of ecology and cancer, our model and analyses are agnostic of any specific application and thus broadly apply to any system capable of evolving.

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Virtual conference of the Society for Mathematical Biology, 2021.