Limited resources and evolutionary learning may help to understand the mistimed reproduction in birds caused by climate change

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Abstract

We present an agent-based model inspired by the Evolutionary Minority Game (EMG), albeit strongly adapted, to the case of competition for limited resources in ecology. The agents in this game become able, after some time, to predict the a priori best option as a result of an evolution-driven learning process. We show that a self-segregated social structure can emerge from this process, i.e., extreme learning strategies are always favoured while intermediate learning strategies tend to die out. This result may contribute to understanding some levels of organization and cooperative behaviour in ecological and social systems. We use the ideas and results reported here to discuss an issue of current interest in ecology: the mistimings in egg laying observed for some species of bird as a consequence of their slower rate of adaptation to climate change in comparison with that shown by their prey. Our model supports the hypothesis that habitat-specific constraints could explain why different populations are adapting differently to this situation, in agreement with recent experiments. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Evolutionary learning
  • Limited resources
  • Predator-prey

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