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Journal Article

Population Ecology, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Social Evolution. I. Associations among Nonrelatives

Leticia Avilés, Patrick Abbot and Asher D. Cutter
The American Naturalist
Vol. 159, No. 2 (February 2002), pp. 115-127
DOI: 10.1086/324792
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/324792
Page Count: 13
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Population Ecology, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Social Evolution. I. Associations among Nonrelatives
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Abstract

Abstract: Using an individual‐based and genetically explicit simulation model, we explore the evolution of sociality within a population‐ecology and nonlinear‐dynamics framework. Assuming that individual fitness is a unimodal function of group size and that cooperation may carry a relative fitness cost, we consider the evolution of one‐generation breeding associations among nonrelatives. We explore how parameters such as the intrinsic rate of growth and group and global carrying capacities may influence social evolution and how social evolution may, in turn, influence and be influenced by emerging group‐level and population‐wide dynamics. We find that group living and cooperation evolve under a wide range of parameter values, even when cooperation is costly and the interactions can be defined as altruistic. Greater levels of cooperation, however, did evolve when cooperation carried a low or no relative fitness cost. Larger group carrying capacities allowed the evolution of larger groups but also resulted in lower cooperative tendencies. When the intrinsic rate of growth was not too small and control of the global population size was density dependent, the evolution of large cooperative tendencies resulted in dynamically unstable groups and populations. These results are consistent with the existence and typical group sizes of organisms ranging from the pleometrotic ants to the colonial birds and the global population outbreaks and crashes characteristic of organisms such as the migratory locusts and the tree‐killing bark beetles.

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