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Spatial Evolutionary Dynamics Workshop

Complex Systems Institute, Paris, October 17, 2008


This workshop addresses the special features of evolutionary dynamics that occur in explicitly spatial models compared with traditional mean field models.

Evolutionary theory remains largely entrenched in the lessons of mathematical models assuming well-mixed populations, or sets of subpopulations without any spatial configuration (the so-called "island model" of migration), which cannot exhibit the emergence of spatial pattern or its influence on evolutionary rates. However, these behaviors have been routinely observed in spatially-explicit computational models of the evolutionary process (usually agent-based) developed in recent years, and they represent general aspects of complex systems theory.

This is a very important trend for evolutionary theory as diversification of types is the central concept of evolutionary biology. Darwin established this as the core idea of evolution with the title of his book on "the origin of species". Now is an ideal time to identify and characterize the spatially-explicit computational modeling approach for understanding the evolutionary process. There have been over 100 papers published exploring spatially-explicit computational evolution models, which appear to present a consistent message revealing inadequacies of neo-Darwinistic mean-field models and calling for a new understanding of spatio-temporal evolutionary dynamics. For example, extending models of evolving populations in one or more spatial dimensions seems to frequently (always?) tend toward spatial self-organization (population subdivision/speciation) and enhance ecological and social adaptation (including the evolution of cooperation). We hope that interactions during this workshop will help to clarify which aspects of traditional evolutionary theory are generally challenged by these models.

To give an example, here is a link to a recent paper by the organizers exploring parapatric speciation in the absence of environmental influences:


To submit an abstract and/or attend this event, please click here

Contributors to this page: Rene Doursat and Guy Hoelzer .
Page last modified on Wednesday 10 September, 2008 00:30:58 by Rene Doursat.

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