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Evolutionary games, climate and the generation of diversity

Daniel Friedman, Jacopo Magnani (), Dhanashree Paranjpe and Barry Sinervo

PLOS ONE, 2017, vol. 12, issue 8, 1-14

Abstract: Environmental stochasticity and climate affect outcomes in evolutionary games, which can thereby affect biological diversity. Our maximum likelihood (ML) estimates of replicator dynamics for morph frequency data from control (25 years) and three experimentally perturbed populations (14 years) of side-blotched lizards yield a 3 × 3 payoff matrix in the generalized Rock-Paper-Scissors family; it has intransitive best replies, and each strategy is its own worst reply. ML estimates indicate significant interactive effects of density and temperature on morph frequency. Implied dynamics feature a powerful interior attractor and recover (for the first time) observed 4-5 year oscillations. Our evolutionary experiment on morph frequency confirms that oscillations are driven by frequency dependent selection, but climate entrains the cycles across the perturbed and control populations within 10 generations. Applying the model across the species range, we find that climate also accounts for morph fixation and mating system diversity, suggesting climate may similarly impact ecosystem diversity.

Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184052

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