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Type: Journal article
Title: Evolving nutritional strategies in the presence of competition: a geometric agent-based model
Author: Senior, A.
Charleston, M.
Lihoreau, M.
Buhl, J.
Raubenheimer, D.
Simpson, S.
Citation: PLoS Computational Biology, 2015; 11(3):e1004111-1-e1004111-24
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1553-7358
Statement of
Alistair M. Senior, Michael A. Charleston, Mathieu Lihoreau, Jerome Buhl, David Raubenheimer, Stephen J. Simpson
Abstract: Access to nutrients is a key factor governing development, reproduction and ultimately fitness. Within social groups, contest-competition can fundamentally affect nutrient access, potentially leading to reproductive asymmetry among individuals. Previously, agent-based models have been combined with the Geometric Framework of nutrition to provide insight into how nutrition and social interactions affect one another. Here, we expand this modelling approach by incorporating evolutionary algorithms to explore how contest-competition over nutrient acquisition might affect the evolution of animal nutritional strategies. Specifically, we model tolerance of nutrient excesses and deficits when ingesting nutritionally imbalanced foods, which we term 'nutritional latitude'; a higher degree of nutritional latitude constitutes a higher tolerance of nutritional excess and deficit. Our results indicate that a transition between two alternative strategies occurs at moderate to high levels of competition. When competition is low, individuals display a low level of nutritional latitude and regularly switch foods in search of an optimum. When food is scarce and contest-competition is intense, high nutritional latitude appears optimal, and individuals continue to consume an imbalanced food for longer periods before attempting to switch to an alternative. However, the relative balance of nutrients within available foods also strongly influences at what levels of competition, if any, transitions between these two strategies occur. Our models imply that competition combined with reproductive skew in social groups can play a role in the evolution of diet breadth. We discuss how the integration of agent-based, nutritional and evolutionary modelling may be applied in future studies to further understand the evolution of nutritional strategies across social and ecological contexts.
Keywords: Animals; Insects; Feeding Behavior; Competitive Behavior; Computational Biology; Models, Biological; Female; Male; Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Rights: © 2015 Senior et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
RMID: 0030025786
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004111
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Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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