Department of Mathematics
Biomathematics Faculty Search
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Changes in population outcomes resulting from phenotypic evolution and environmental disturbances
We develop an evolutionary game theoretic version of a general nonlinear matrix model that includes the dynamics of a vector of mean phenotypic traits subject to natural selection. For this evolutionary model, we use bifurcation analysis to establish the existence and stability of a branch of positive equilibria that bifurcates from the extinction equilibrium when the inherent growth rate passes through one. We then present an application to a daphnia model to demonstrate how the evolution of resistance to a toxicant may change persistence scenarios. We show that if the effects of a disturbance are not too large, then it is possible for a daphnia population to evolve toxicant resistance whereby it is able to persist at higher levels of the toxicant than it would otherwise. These results highlight the complexities involved in using surrogate species to examine toxicity. Time permitting, we will also consider a nonautonomous matrix model to examine the possible long-term effects of environmental disturbances, such as oils spills, floods, and fires, on population recovery. We focus on population recovery following a single disturbance, where recovery is defined to be the return to the pre-disturbance population size. Using methods from matrix calculus, we derive explicit formulas for the sensitivity of the recovery time with respect to properties of the population or the disturbance.