Chaotic population dynamics can result from natural selection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The question of whether animal populations display chaotic dynamics has motivated a thriving body of research for two decades. Yet unambiguous evidence for chaos in the wild remains scarce. Accordingly, it has been proposed that evolutionary forces act to preserve populations from chaos as well as oscillations. We have tested for this hypothesis by considering the dynamics associated with evolutionarily stable life histories (including age of maturity, adult survivorship and recruitment to adulthood) in a simple, but general, demographic model. Contrary to expectation, individual selection operating on demographic traits should often lead to oscillatory or chaotic dynamics for species with late feasible ages of maturity and many age classes. Also, the optimality of chaos is more likely whenever trade-offs constrain recruitment to rapidly decrease with increasing adult survival or decreasing age of maturity. Our results bring evolutionary support to the possibility that chaotic population dynamics might be much more widespread than inferred until now from data analyses. Furthermore, these findings provide novel support for the view that chaos could be an optimal regime for several biological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume251
Issue number1330
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Population dynamics
Genetic Selection
Population Dynamics
chaotic dynamics
natural selection
Chaos theory
population dynamics
Demography
demographic statistics
Population
Survival Rate
adulthood
age structure
preserves
oscillation
Biological systems
survival rate
Research
life history
Animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Chaotic population dynamics can result from natural selection. / Ferriere, Regis H J; Gatto, M.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 251, No. 1330, 1993, p. 33-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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