Adaptive Dynamics: Some Basic Theory and an Application

Metz, J.A.J. (2015). Adaptive Dynamics: Some Basic Theory and an Application. In: Systems Analysis 2015 - A Conference in Celebration of Howard Raiffa, 11 -13 November, 2015, Laxenburg, Austria.

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The theory of structured populations is a mathematical framework for developing and analyzing ecological models that can take account of relatively realistic detail at the level of individual organisms. This framework in turn has given rise to the theory of adaptive dynamics, a versatile framework for dealing with the evolution of the adaptable traits of individuals through repeated mutant substitutions directed by ecologically driven selection. The step from the former to the latter theory is possible thanks to effective procedures for calculating the expected rate of invasion of mutants with altered trait values into a community the dynamics of which has relaxed to an attractor. The mathematical underpinning is through a sequence of limit theorems starting from individual-based stochastic processes and culminating in (i) a differential equation for long-term trait evolution and (ii) various geometrical tools for classifying the evolutionary singular points such as Evolutionarily Steady Strategies, where evolution gets trapped, and branching points, where an initially quasi-monomorphic population starts to diversify.
Traits that have been studied using adaptive dynamics tools are, among others, the virulence of infectious diseases and various other sorts of life-history parameters such as age at maturation. As one example, adaptive dynamics models of respiratory diseases tell that such diseases will evolve towards the upper air passages and hence towards lesser virulence, while at the same time diversifying as a result of limited cross-immunity. Since the upper airways offer the largest scope for disease persistence, they also allow for the largest disease diversification. Moreover, the upward evolution brings with it a tendency for vacating the lower reaches, which leads to the prediction that emerging respiratory diseases will tend to act low and therefore be both unusually virulent and not overly infective.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2016 13:25
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 13:23

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