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An evolutionary dynamics model adapted to eusocial insects.

van Oudenhove L, Cerdá X, Bernstein C - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: This study aims to better understand the evolutionary processes allowing species coexistence in eusocial insect communities.The interactions of colonies at the ecological timescale drive the evolution of strategies at the evolutionary timescale by natural selection.Our results illustrate that asymmetric competition underpins diversity in ant communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.

ABSTRACT
This study aims to better understand the evolutionary processes allowing species coexistence in eusocial insect communities. We develop a mathematical model that applies adaptive dynamics theory to the evolutionary dynamics of eusocial insects, focusing on the colony as the unit of selection. The model links long-term evolutionary processes to ecological interactions among colonies and seasonal worker production within the colony. Colony population dynamics is defined by both worker production and colony reproduction. Random mutations occur in strategies, and mutant colonies enter the community. The interactions of colonies at the ecological timescale drive the evolution of strategies at the evolutionary timescale by natural selection. This model is used to study two specific traits in ants: worker body size and the degree of collective foraging. For both traits, trade-offs in competitive ability and other fitness components allows to determine conditions in which selection becomes disruptive. Our results illustrate that asymmetric competition underpins diversity in ant communities.

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Evolution of intensity of cooperative foraging predicted by (a) evolutionary isoclines and illustrated by (b) simulated evolutionary trees: the initially monomorphic community undergoes several branching events and becomes highly polymorphic.(a) Shaded areas represent regions of possible coexistence between strategies  and . The direction of evolution is indicated by arrows. Stable (resp. unstable) isoclines are represented by thick (resp. dashed) lines. (b) The blue tree (left) represents the relative number of colonies using the corresponding strategy (the darker the blue, the more common the strategy), and the red tree (right) represents the associated colony’s size (the darker the red, the more workers present in the colony). Simulations start using individual foraging as the ancestral strategy (). Parameter values: , , . (See Fig. 3 for simulation details).
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pone-0055159-g004: Evolution of intensity of cooperative foraging predicted by (a) evolutionary isoclines and illustrated by (b) simulated evolutionary trees: the initially monomorphic community undergoes several branching events and becomes highly polymorphic.(a) Shaded areas represent regions of possible coexistence between strategies and . The direction of evolution is indicated by arrows. Stable (resp. unstable) isoclines are represented by thick (resp. dashed) lines. (b) The blue tree (left) represents the relative number of colonies using the corresponding strategy (the darker the blue, the more common the strategy), and the red tree (right) represents the associated colony’s size (the darker the red, the more workers present in the colony). Simulations start using individual foraging as the ancestral strategy (). Parameter values: , , . (See Fig. 3 for simulation details).

Mentions: The structure of the evolutionary isoclines allows us to determine the dynamics of the two strategies after the branching event. According to the arrows indicating the direction of evolution (Fig. 4.a), one of the strategies increases while the other decreases. The evolutionary isocline towards which the two strategies evolve loses its evolutionary stability (, in Fig. 4.a), thereby causing a second branching event. The community then reaches a higher degree of polymorphism.


An evolutionary dynamics model adapted to eusocial insects.

van Oudenhove L, Cerdá X, Bernstein C - PLoS ONE (2013)

Evolution of intensity of cooperative foraging predicted by (a) evolutionary isoclines and illustrated by (b) simulated evolutionary trees: the initially monomorphic community undergoes several branching events and becomes highly polymorphic.(a) Shaded areas represent regions of possible coexistence between strategies  and . The direction of evolution is indicated by arrows. Stable (resp. unstable) isoclines are represented by thick (resp. dashed) lines. (b) The blue tree (left) represents the relative number of colonies using the corresponding strategy (the darker the blue, the more common the strategy), and the red tree (right) represents the associated colony’s size (the darker the red, the more workers present in the colony). Simulations start using individual foraging as the ancestral strategy (). Parameter values: , , . (See Fig. 3 for simulation details).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3585944&req=5

pone-0055159-g004: Evolution of intensity of cooperative foraging predicted by (a) evolutionary isoclines and illustrated by (b) simulated evolutionary trees: the initially monomorphic community undergoes several branching events and becomes highly polymorphic.(a) Shaded areas represent regions of possible coexistence between strategies and . The direction of evolution is indicated by arrows. Stable (resp. unstable) isoclines are represented by thick (resp. dashed) lines. (b) The blue tree (left) represents the relative number of colonies using the corresponding strategy (the darker the blue, the more common the strategy), and the red tree (right) represents the associated colony’s size (the darker the red, the more workers present in the colony). Simulations start using individual foraging as the ancestral strategy (). Parameter values: , , . (See Fig. 3 for simulation details).
Mentions: The structure of the evolutionary isoclines allows us to determine the dynamics of the two strategies after the branching event. According to the arrows indicating the direction of evolution (Fig. 4.a), one of the strategies increases while the other decreases. The evolutionary isocline towards which the two strategies evolve loses its evolutionary stability (, in Fig. 4.a), thereby causing a second branching event. The community then reaches a higher degree of polymorphism.

Bottom Line: This study aims to better understand the evolutionary processes allowing species coexistence in eusocial insect communities.The interactions of colonies at the ecological timescale drive the evolution of strategies at the evolutionary timescale by natural selection.Our results illustrate that asymmetric competition underpins diversity in ant communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.

ABSTRACT
This study aims to better understand the evolutionary processes allowing species coexistence in eusocial insect communities. We develop a mathematical model that applies adaptive dynamics theory to the evolutionary dynamics of eusocial insects, focusing on the colony as the unit of selection. The model links long-term evolutionary processes to ecological interactions among colonies and seasonal worker production within the colony. Colony population dynamics is defined by both worker production and colony reproduction. Random mutations occur in strategies, and mutant colonies enter the community. The interactions of colonies at the ecological timescale drive the evolution of strategies at the evolutionary timescale by natural selection. This model is used to study two specific traits in ants: worker body size and the degree of collective foraging. For both traits, trade-offs in competitive ability and other fitness components allows to determine conditions in which selection becomes disruptive. Our results illustrate that asymmetric competition underpins diversity in ant communities.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus