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Evolution in alternating environments with tunable inter-landscape correlations

Citation

Maltas, Jeff (2020), Evolution in alternating environments with tunable inter-landscape correlations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2v6wwpzkj

Abstract

Natural populations are often exposed to temporally varying environments. Evolutionary dynamics in varying environments have been extensively studied, though understanding the effects of varying selection pressures remains challenging. Here we investigate how cycling between a pair of statistically related fitness landscapes affects the evolved fitness of an asexually reproducing population. We construct pairs of fitness landscapes that share global fitness features but are correlated with one another in a tunable way, resulting in landscape pairs with specific correlations. We find that switching between these landscape pairs, depending on the ruggedness of the landscape and the inter-landscape correlation, can either increase or decrease steady-state fitness relative to evolution in single environments. In addition, we show that switching between rugged landscapes often selects for increased fitness in both landscapes, even in situations where the landscapes themselves are anti-correlated. We demonstrate that positively correlated landscapes often possess a shared maximum in both landscapes that allows the population to step through sub-optimal local fitness maxima that often trap single landscape evolution trajectories. Finally, we demonstrate that switching between anti-correlated paired landscapes leads to ergodic-like dynamics where each genotype is populated with nonzero probability, dramatically lowering the steady-state fitness in comparison to single landscape evolution.

Methods

This data was accumulated through numerical simulations.