Experimental and theoretical studies have highlighted the impact of gene flow on the probability of evolutionary rescue in structured habitats. Mathematical modelling and simulations of evolutionary rescue in spatially or otherwise structured populations showed that intermediate migration rates can often maximize the probability of rescue in gradually or abruptly deteriorating habitats. These theoretical results corroborate the positive effect of gene flow on evolutionary rescue that has been identified in experimental yeast populations. The observations that gene flow can facilitate adaptation are in seeming conflict with traditional population genetics results that show that gene flow usually hampers (local) adaptation. Identifying conditions for when gene flow facilitates survival chances of populations rather than reducing them remains a key unresolved theoretical question. We here present a simple analytically tractable model for evolutionary rescue in a two-deme model with gene flow. Our main result is a simple condition for when migration facilitates evolutionary rescue, as opposed as no migration. We further investigate the roles of asymmetries in gene flow and / or carrying capacities, and the effects of density regulation and local growth rates on evolutionary rescue.
We performed stochastic simulations replicating biological processes to validate and extend our analytical findings ('main_simulation.py'). We performed 2000 replicates for each parameter combination (generated with 'parameters.py'), and the probability of rescue is calculated as the proportion of replicates in which rescue occurred. R scripts generate figures in the manuscript.