Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

Evolution of resource utilization: the coexistence of specialists and generalists
Tuomas Nurmi

Last modified: 2014-04-01


I propose a metapopulation model [1] that is mechanistically based on individual level processes and thus suitable for evolutionary analysis. I use adaptive dynamics [2] to study the evolution specialization in resource utilization in the case with consumers facing a trade-off between abilities to consume two different but nutritionally equivalent resources. I illustrate the evolutionary scenarios that are possible in this model . Especially, I focus on the coexistence of resource generalists with two specialist types and review mechanisms that may enable an initially monomorphic population to evolve to this trimorphic coexistence. These mechanisms include non-equilibrium population dynamics [3] and the joint evolution of dispersal and specialization [4].

[1] Nurmi and Parvinen  (2008): On the evolution of specialization with a mechanistic underpinning in metapopulations Theor. Pop. Biol. 73 (222–243).

[2] Geritz et al (1998): Evolutionary Singular Strategies and the Adaptive Growth and Branching of the Evolutionary Tree, Evol. Ecol. 12, (35–57).

[3] Nurmi and Parvinen (2013): Evolution of specialization under nonequilibrium population dynamics, J. Theor. Biol. 321, (63–77).

[4] Nurmi and Parvinen (2011): Joint evolution of specialization and dispersal in structured metapopulations,  J. Theor. Biol. 275, (78–92).


Adaptive dynamics, metapopulation, trade-off, resource utilization, generalist, specialist