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Complex evolutionary interactions in multiple populations

In competitive settings that entail several populations, individuals often engage in intra- and interpopulation interactions that determine their fitness and evolutionary success.

With this simple motivation, we here study a multipopulation model where individuals engage in group interactions within their own population and in pairwise interactions with individuals from different populations. We use the evolutionary public goods game and the prisoner’s dilemma game to describe these group and pairwise interactions, respectively. We also take into account asymmetry in the extent to which group and pairwise interactions determine the fitness of individuals.

We find that interactions across multiple populations reveal new mechanisms through which the evolution of cooperation can be promoted, but this depends on the level of interaction asymmetry. If inter- and intrapopulation interactions are symmetric, the sole presence of multiple populations promotes the evolution of cooperation. Asymmetry in the interactions can further promote cooperation at the expense of the coexistence of the competing strategies. An in-depth analysis of the spatiotemporal dynamics reveals loop-dominated structures and pattern formation that can explain the various evolutionary outcomes.

Thus, complex evolutionary interactions in multiple populations reveal an intricate interplay between cooperation and coexistence, and they also open up the path toward further explorations of multipopulation games and biodiversity.

K. Hu, L. Shi, Y. Tao, M. Perc, Complex evolutionary interactions in multiple populations, Phsyical Review E 107 (2023) 044301.

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