Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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Frequency-dependent fitness induces multistability in coevolutionary dynamics

Hinrich Arnoldt, Marc Timme, and Stefan Grosskinsky (2012)

J. Royal Society Interface 77:3387.  ( BibTeX export )

Evolution is simultaneously driven by a number of processes such as mutation, competition and random sampling. Understanding which of these processes is dominating the collective evolutionary dynamics in dependence on system properties is a fundamental aim of theoretical research. Recent works quantitatively studied co-evolutionary dynamics of competing species with a focus on linearly frequency-dependent interactions, derived from a game theoretic viewpoint. However, several aspects of evolutionary dynamics, e.g. limited resources, may induce effectively nonlinear frequency dependencies. Here we study the impact of nonlinear frequency dependence on evolutionary dynamics in a model class that covers linear frequency dependence as a special case. We focus on the simplest non-trivial setting of two genotypes and analyse the co-action of nonlinear frequency dependence with asymmetric mutation rates. We find that their co-action may induce novel metastable states as well as stochastic switching dynamics between them. Our results reveal how the different mechanisms of mutation, selection and genetic drift contribute to the dynamics and the emergence of metastable states, suggesting that multi-stability is a generic feature in systems with frequency-dependent fitness.