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Environmental variability can select for optimism or pessimism

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare John M. McNamara
Pete C. Trimmer
Anders Eriksson
James A R Marshall
Alasdair I. Houston
Publicerad i Ecology Letters
Volym 14
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 58-62
ISSN 1461-023X
Publiceringsår 2011
Publicerad vid Institutionen för marin ekologi
Sidor 58-62
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248...
Ämnesord Metapopulation, Natural selection, Optimism, Rationality, Spatial variation, Stochasticity, Temporal variation
Ämneskategorier Miljövetenskap

Sammanfattning

We propose operational definitions of reproductive optimism and pessimism; optimism involves behaving in a way that gives too much weight (in terms of producing surviving offspring) to positive events, pessimism gives too much weight to negative events. Natural selection maximizes the long-term growth of a lineage rather than short-term measures such as numbers of offspring. Consequently, optimism or pessimism can be favoured by natural selection, even though such biases appear irrational from a short-term perspective. We investigate the evolution of optimism in a metapopulation. The circumstances of a patch change over time, independently of other patches. With sufficient dispersal between patches, stochasticity affects members of a lineage largely independently and optimism is favoured. With little dispersal, the temporal fluctuations of a patch affect many members similarly; pessimism is then favoured. Our results establish that the spatial and temporal structure of the environment is crucial in determining the direction of evolved biases. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

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