Czuppon, P. and Gokhale, C. S.
Disentangling eco-evolutionary effects on trait fixation
Theoretical Population Biology
Mixing Lotka Volterra with multiplayer games
In population genetics, fixation of traits in a demographically changing population under frequency-independent selection has been extensively analysed. In evolutionary game theory, models of fixation have typically focused on fixed population sizes and frequency-dependent selection. A combination of demographic fluctuations with frequency-dependent interactions such as Lotka–Volterra dynamics has received comparatively little attention. We consider a stochastic, competitive Lotka–Volterra model with higher order interactions between two traits. The emerging individual-based model allows for stochastic fluctuations in the frequencies of the two traits and the total population size. We calculate the fixation probability of a trait under differing competition coefficients. This fixation probability resembles, qualitatively, the deterministic evolutionary dynamics. Furthermore, we partially disentangle the selection effects into their ecological and evolutionary components. We find that changing the evolutionary selection strength also changes the population dynamics and vice versa. Thus, a clean separation of the ecological and evolutionary effects is not possible. Instead, our results imply a nested interaction of the evolutionary and ecological effects. The entangled eco-evolutionary processes thus cannot be ignored when determining fixation properties in a co-evolutionary system.