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The nest site lottery: How selectively neutral density dependent growth suppression induces frequency dependent selection

Argasinski, K. & Broom, M. (2013). The nest site lottery: How selectively neutral density dependent growth suppression induces frequency dependent selection. Theoretical Population Biology, 90, pp. 82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2013.09.011


Modern developments in population dynamics emphasize the role of the turnover of individuals. In the new approaches stable population size is a dynamic equilibrium between different mortality and fecundity factors instead of an arbitrary fixed carrying capacity. The latest replicator dynamics models assume that regulation of the population size acts through feedback driven by density dependent juvenile mortality. Here, we consider a simplified model to extract the properties of this approach. We show that at the stable population size, the structure of the frequency dependent evolutionary game emerges. Turnover of individuals induces a lottery mechanism where for each nest site released by a dead adult individual a single newborn is drawn from the pool of newborn candidates. This frequency dependent selection leads toward the strategy maximizing the number of newborns per adult death. However, multiple strategies can maximize this value. Among them, the strategy with the greatest mortality (which implies the greatest instantaneous growth rate) is selected. This result is important for the discussion about universal fitness measures and which parameters are maximized by natural selection. This is related to the fitness measures R0 and r, because the number of newborns per single dead individual equals lifetime production of newborn R0 in models without ageing. We thus have a two-stage procedure, instead of a single fitness measure, which is a combination of R0 and r. According to the nest site lottery mechanism, at stable population size, selection favours strategies with the greatest r, i.e. those with the highest turnover, from those with the greatest R0.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Theoretical Population Biology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Theoretical Population Biology, Volume 90, December 2013, Pages 82–90,
Publisher Keywords: Density dependence, Evolutionary game, Fitness measures, Frequency dependent selection, Life history, Logistic equation
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QH Natural history
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
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