Innovation Rather than Improvement: A Solvable High-Dimensional Model Highlights the Limitations of Scalar Fitness

Innovation Rather than Improvement: A Solvable High-Dimensional Model Highlights the Limitations... Much of our understanding of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms derives from analysis of low-dimensional models: with few interacting species, or few axes defining “fitness”. It is not always clear to what extent the intuition derived from low-dimensional models applies to the complex, high-dimensional reality. For instance, most naturally occurring microbial communities are strikingly diverse, harboring a large number of coexisting species, each of which contributes to shaping the environment of others. Understanding the eco-evolutionary interplay in these systems is an important challenge, and an exciting new domain for statistical physics. Recent work identified a promising new platform for investigating highly diverse ecosystems, based on the classic resource competition model of MacArthur. Here, we describe how the same analytical framework can be used to study evolutionary questions. Our analysis illustrates how, at high dimension, the intuition promoted by a one-dimensional (scalar) notion of fitness can become misleading. Specifically, while the low-dimensional picture emphasizes organism cost or efficiency, we exhibit a regime where cost becomes irrelevant for survival, and link this observation to generic properties of high-dimensional geometry. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Statistical Physics Springer Journals

Innovation Rather than Improvement: A Solvable High-Dimensional Model Highlights the Limitations of Scalar Fitness

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Physics; Statistical Physics and Dynamical Systems; Theoretical, Mathematical and Computational Physics; Physical Chemistry; Quantum Physics
ISSN
0022-4715
eISSN
1572-9613
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10955-018-1956-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Much of our understanding of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms derives from analysis of low-dimensional models: with few interacting species, or few axes defining “fitness”. It is not always clear to what extent the intuition derived from low-dimensional models applies to the complex, high-dimensional reality. For instance, most naturally occurring microbial communities are strikingly diverse, harboring a large number of coexisting species, each of which contributes to shaping the environment of others. Understanding the eco-evolutionary interplay in these systems is an important challenge, and an exciting new domain for statistical physics. Recent work identified a promising new platform for investigating highly diverse ecosystems, based on the classic resource competition model of MacArthur. Here, we describe how the same analytical framework can be used to study evolutionary questions. Our analysis illustrates how, at high dimension, the intuition promoted by a one-dimensional (scalar) notion of fitness can become misleading. Specifically, while the low-dimensional picture emphasizes organism cost or efficiency, we exhibit a regime where cost becomes irrelevant for survival, and link this observation to generic properties of high-dimensional geometry.

Journal

Journal of Statistical PhysicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 18, 2018

References

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