Evolution of cooperation in spatially heterogeneous environments

PhD Program in Ecology,  Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India

Jaideep Joshi

Jaideep Joshi

Cooperation is an evolutionary paradox, because cooperators are easily invaded by defectors. For example, consumer-resource systems can easily collapse through the ‘tragedy of the commons’, which occurs when each individual tries to optimize its own gain. Recent research has focused on spatial mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation, like local dispersal, collective movement, and spatial heterogeneity. In this project, we investigate whether, in spatially heterogeneous environments, the tragedy of the commons can be averted when harvesting rates and dispersal rates coevolve. We further explore whether spatial heterogeneity can itself spontaneously arise because of such coevoutionary dynamics.

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Last edited: 24 March 2016

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