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Why mussels stick together: spatial self-organization affects the evolution of cooperation
de Jager, M.; Weissing, F.J.; van de Koppel, J. (2017). Why mussels stick together: spatial self-organization affects the evolution of cooperation. Evolutionary Ecology 31(4): 547-558. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10682-017-9888-1
In: Evolutionary Ecology. Chapman & Hall: London. ISSN 0269-7653, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Cooperation; Spatial structure; Eco-evolutionary dynamics; Mytilus edulis; Mussels

Auteurs  Top 
  • de Jager, M., meer
  • Weissing, F.J.
  • van de Koppel, J., meer

Abstract
    Cooperation with neighbours may be crucial for the persistence of populations instressful environments. Yet, cooperation is often not evolutionarily stable, since noncooperativeindividuals can reap the benefits of cooperation without having to pay the costsassociated with cooperation. Here we show that active aggregation leading to self-organizedspatial pattern formation can promote the evolution of cooperativeness. To this end,we study the effect of movement strategies on the evolution of cooperation in mussel beds.Mussels cooperate by attaching themselves to neighbours via byssal threads, therebyproviding mutual protection. Using an individual-based model for mussel bed formation,we first demonstrate that the spatial pattern and the corresponding number of neighboursstrongly depends on the movement strategies of the mussels. With an evolutionary model,we then show that this has important implications for the evolution of cooperation, sincethe evolved level of cooperativeness (the number of byssus threads produced) stronglydepends on the number of neighbours and on the harshness and variability of the environment.Our results suggest that spatial aggregation, abundantly found in self-organizedecosystems, may promote the evolution of cooperation.

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