Patch-level Selection in Darwinian Daisyworld

Bardeen, Matthew. “Patch-level Selection in Darwinian Daisyworld.” In ALIFE , pp. 541-548. 2010.


Scientists have used Richard Dawkins’ ideas of the extended phenotype to postulate levels of selection higher than an individual in evolution. Dawkins rejects this extension and insists that there must be a reproductive bottleneck for the extended phenotype, and thus, higher levels of selection to exist. In this research, a model is presented that shows levels of selection higher than the individual, without the reproductive bottleneck insisted upon by Dawkins. A 2-dimensional cellular automata Daisyworld model is extended with a gene that controls the rate of albedo mutation. A large number of runs of the model are performed with a variety of different parameters, and the statistics for the runs are analyzed. The results show that contrary to expectations, the mutation rate does not stay low but instead rises to high levels. The reasons for this are analyzed and it is shown that patch level selection pressures are acting upon the individuals. It is concluded that selection pressures higher than the individual can exist, mimicking the extended phenotype, without the need for a reproductive bottleneck

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