An evolutionary stable strategy to colonize spatially extended habitats

Weirong Liu*, Jonas Cremer*, Dengjin Li, Terence Hwa, Chenli Liu: An evolutionary stable strategy to colonize spatially extended habitats . In: Nature, 2019.

Abstract

The ability of a species to colonize newly available habitats is crucial to its overall fitness. In general, motility and fast expansion are expected to be beneficial for colonization and hence for the fitness of an organism. Here we apply an evolution protocol to investigate phenotypical requirements for colonizing habitats of different sizes during range expansion by chemotaxing bacteria. Contrary to the intuitive expectation that faster is better, we show that there is an optimal expansion speed for a given habitat size. Our analysis showed that this effect arises from interactions among pioneering cells at the front of the expanding population, and revealed a simple, evolutionarily stable strategy for colonizing a habitat of a specific size: to expand at a speed given by the product of the growth rate and the habitat size. These results illustrate stability-to-invasion as a powerful principle for the selection of phenotypes in complex ecological processes.

BibTeX (Download)

@article{Liu:2019,
title = {An evolutionary stable strategy to colonize  spatially extended habitats },
author = {Weirong Liu* and Jonas Cremer* and Dengjin Li and Terence Hwa and Chenli Liu},
url = {https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1734-x},
year  = {2019},
date = {2019-09-02},
journal = {Nature},
abstract = {The ability of a species to colonize newly available habitats is crucial to its overall fitness. In general, motility and fast expansion are expected to be beneficial for colonization and hence for the fitness of an organism. Here we apply an evolution protocol to investigate phenotypical requirements for colonizing habitats of different sizes during range expansion by chemotaxing bacteria. Contrary to the intuitive expectation that faster is better, we show that there is an optimal expansion speed for a given habitat size. Our analysis showed that this effect arises from interactions among pioneering cells at the front of the expanding population, and revealed a simple, evolutionarily stable strategy for colonizing a habitat of a specific size: to expand at a speed given by the product of the growth rate and the habitat size. These results illustrate stability-to-invasion as a powerful principle for the selection of phenotypes in complex ecological processes.},
keywords = {bacterial growth},
pubstate = {published},
tppubtype = {article}
}