The Evolution of Resource Specialization through Frequency-Dependent and Frequency-Independent Mechanisms

Rueffler, C., Van Dooren, T.J.M., & Metz, J.A.J. (2006). The Evolution of Resource Specialization through Frequency-Dependent and Frequency-Independent Mechanisms. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-06-073

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Levin's fitness set approach has shaped the intuition of many evolutionary ecologists about resource specialization: if the set of possible phenotypes is convex, a generalist is favored, while either of the two specialists is predicted for concave phenotype sets. An important aspect of Levins approach is that it explicitly excludes frequency-dependent selection. Frequency-dependence emerged in a series of models that studied the degree of character displacement of two consumers coexisting on two resources. Surprisingly, the evolutionary dynamics of a single consumer type under frequency-dependence has not been studied in detail yet. We analyze a model of one evolving consumer feeding on two resources and show that, depending on the trait considered to be subject to evolutionary change, selection is either frequency-independent or frequency-dependent. This difference is explained by the effects different foraging traits have on the consumer-resource interactions. If selection is frequency-dependent, then the population can become dimorphic through evolutionary branching at the trait value of the generalist. Those traits with frequency-independent selection, however, do indeed follow the predictions based on Levin's fitness set approach. This dichotomy in the evolutionary dynamics of traits involved in the same foraging process was not previously recognized.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:38
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:19

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