T. Nurmi and K. Parvinen (2013)
Evolution of specialization under non-equilibrium population dynamics
Journal of Theoretical Biology 321, 63-77
Available online


We analyze the evolution of specialization in resource utilization in a mechanistically underpinned discrete-time model using the adaptive dynamics approach. We assume two nutritionally equivalent resources that in the absence of consumers grow sigmoidally towards a resource-specific carrying capacity. The consumers use resources according to the law of mass-action with rates involving trade-off. The resulting discrete-time model for the consumer population has over-compensatory dynamics. We illuminate the way non-equilibrium population dynamics affect the evolutionary dynamics of the resource consumption rates, and show that evolution to the trimorphic coexistence of a generalist and two specialists is possible due to asynchronous non-equilibrium population dynamics of the specialists. In addition, various forms of cyclic evolutionary dynamics are possible. Furthermore, evolutionary suicide may occur even without Allee effects and demographic stochasticity.

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