Models of nested populations: how does collective function evolve?

Directed evolution experiments have demonstrated the possibility to select genes or cellular lineages with specific characteristics or functions. Increasing effort is devoted to applying the same principles to microbial communities.

I will first describe a model of a community of two species. I will show that collective-level selection drives the evolution of interspecific interactions, so that the target function becomes heritable via the emergence of a 'development' that corrects for the possible stochastic variation in community composition.

The second model descibes a large number of species. Interactions are assumed to be initially random, and selection is applied to the total population size. Analytical approximations reproduce numerical simulations and the interplay of directional and stochastic variationThey show that selection for higher biomass enhance mutualism and diversity.


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Tobias Galla

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