Asymmetric evolutionary games with environmental feedback

4 Jul 2018  ·  Christoph Hauert, Camille Saade, Alex McAvoy ·

Models in evolutionary game theory traditionally assume symmetric interactions in homogeneous environments. Here, we consider populations evolving in a heterogeneous environment, which consists of patches of different qualities that are occupied by one individual each. The fitness of individuals is not only determined by interactions with others but also by environmental quality. This heterogeneity results in asymmetric interactions where the characteristics of the interaction may depend on an individual's location. Interestingly, in non-varying heterogeneous environments, the long-term dynamics are the same as for symmetric interactions in an average, homogeneous environment. However, introducing environmental feedback between an individual's strategy and the quality of its patch results in rich eco-evolutionary dynamics. Thus, individuals act as ecosystem engineers. The nature of the feedback and the rate of ecological changes can relax or aggravate social dilemmas and promote persistent periodic oscillations of strategy abundance and environmental quality.

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