The effects of evolution on the stability of competing species

S. Elaydi, Y. Kang, R. Luís

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Based on evolutionary game theory and Darwinian evolution, we propose and study discrete-time competition models of two species where at least one species has an evolving trait that affects their intra-specific, but not their inter-specific competition coefficients. By using perturbation theory, and the theory of the limiting equations of non-autonomous discrete dynamical systems, we obtain global stability results. Our theoretical results indicate that evolution may promote and/or suppress the stability of the coexistence equilibrium depending on the environment. This relies crucially on the speed of evolution and on how the intra-specific competition coefficient depends on the evolving trait. In general, equilibrium destabilization occurs when (Formula presented.), when the speed of evolution is sufficiently slow. In this case, we conclude that evolution selects against complex dynamics. However, when evolution proceeds at a faster pace, destabilization can occur when (Formula presented.). In this case, if the competition coefficient is highly sensitive to changes in the trait v, destabilization and complex dynamics occur. Moreover, destabilization may lead to either a period-doubling bifurcation, as in the non-evolutionary Ricker equation, or to a Neimark-Sacker bifurcation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-839
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of biological dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition models
  • asymptotically autonomous
  • evolutionary dynamics
  • global stability
  • local stability
  • traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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