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Evolution of simple multicellular life cycles in dynamic environments

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Pichugin,  Yuriy
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Park,  Hye Jin
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Traulsen,  Arne
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pichugin, Y., Park, H. J., & Traulsen, A. (2019). Evolution of simple multicellular life cycles in dynamic environments. Interface: Journal of the Royal Society, 16(154): 20190054. doi:10.1098/rsif.2019.0054.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-5374-C
Abstract
The mode of reproduction is a critical characteristic of any species, as it has a strong effect on its evolution. As any other trait, the reproduction mode is subject to natural selection and may adapt to the environment. When the environment varies over time, different reproduction modes could be optimal at different times. The natural response to a dynamic environment seems to be bet hedging, where multiple reproductive strategies are stochastically executed. Here, we develop a framework for the evolution of simple multicellular life cycles in a dynamic environment. We use a matrix population model of undifferentiated multicellular groups undergoing fragmentation and ask which mode maximizes the population growth rate. Counterintuitively, we find that natural selection in dynamic environments generally tends to promote deterministic, not stochastic, reproduction modes.