Adaptive dynamics of Lotka-Volterra systems with trade-offs: The role of interspecific parameter dependence in branching

Andrew White, Roger G. Bowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We determine the adaptive dynamics of a general Lotka-Volterra system containing an intraspecific parameter dependency - in the form of an explicit functional trade-off between evolving parameters - and interspecific parameter dependencies - arising from modelling species interactions. We develop expressions for the fitness of a mutant strategy in a multi-species resident environment, the position of the singular strategy in such systems and the non-mixed second-order partial derivatives of the mutant fitness. These expressions can be used to determine the evolutionary behaviour of the system. The type of behaviour expected depends on the curvature of the trade-off function and can be interpreted in a biologically intuitive manner using the rate of acceleration/deceleration of the costs implicit in the trade-off function. We show that for evolutionary branching to occur we require that one (or both) of the traded-off parameters includes an interspecific parameter dependency and that the trade-off function has weakly accelerating costs. This could have important implications for understanding the type of mechanisms that cause speciation. The general theory is motivated by using adaptive dynamics to examine evolution in a predator-prey system. The applicability of the general theory as a tool for examining specific systems is highlighted by calculating the evolutionary behaviour in a three species (prey-predator-predator) system. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-117
Number of pages17
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Adaptive dynamics
  • Evolutionary branching
  • Speciation
  • Trade-offs


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