Evolutionary Game Theory with payoff fluctuations: Bet-Hedging

Calvo Ibáñez, Ruben (supervisor Tobias Galla)
Master Thesis (2021)

This thesis focuses on bet-hedging in changing evolutionary games. We study games with environmental fluctuations and quantify the effect that the distribu- tion of fitness of a given strategy has on its success. In general, it is an accepted idea in the field of biology, that reducing the variance of this distribution, even at the expense of reducing its mean, can be beneficial. We model this scenario as a simple game having stochastic fluctuations in the payoff matrix, and analyze it in detail. Our simulation results confirm the existence of bet-hedging strategies, in general, for a wide range of distributions. However, the particular asymmetry that the distribution has is seen to play an important role. We were able to demonstrate that there exist new types of bet-hedging when the distribution is negatively skewed. These are characterized by an increase in the variance of fitness fluctuations leading to higher success, even at the expense of having to reduce mean fitness.

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