Modeling evolutionary games in populations with demographic structure
Journal of Theoretical Biology, 506–515 (2015)
Classic life history models are often based on optimization algorithms, focusing on the adaptation of survival and reproduction to the environment, while neglecting frequency dependent interactions in the population. Evolutionary game theory, on the other hand, studies frequency dependent strategy interactions, but usually omits life history and the demographic structure of the population. Here we show how an integration of both aspects can substantially alter the underlying evolutionary dynamics. We study the replicator dynamics of strategy interactions in life stage structured populations. Individuals have two basic strategic behaviours, interacting in pairwise games. A player may condition behaviour on the life stage of its own, or that of the opponent, or the matching of life stages between both players. A strategy is thus defined as the set of rules that determines a player׳s life stage dependent behaviours. We show that the diversity of life stage structures and life stage dependent strategies can promote each other, and the stable frequency of basic strategic behaviours can deviate from game equilibrium in populations with life stage structures.