QEIB: General Genetic Models of the Geographic Mosaic Theory of Coevolution
Coevolution plays a central role in shaping biological diversity, molding the structure of biological communities, and driving tight coadaptation between interacting species. Over shorter ecological time scales coevolution also generates chronic maladaptation and maintains substantial levels of genetic polymorphism. The geographic mosaic theory of coevolution provides a unifying framework for these disparate aspects of the coevolutionary process. The overarching goal of this proposal is to develop a rigorous theoretical backbone for this theory. This will be achieved through the application of recently developed mathematical techniques that greatly simplify the analysis of complex genetic systems.
The broader impacts of the proposed work are twofold. First, the models will extend previously developed mathematical techniques to coevolving systems. The result will be the development of new and powerful analytical tools that can be readily applied to a diverse array of problems in coevolutionary biology. The distribution of this analytical technology will be facilitated by public presentation of techniques at annual meetings, and by the publication of electronic Mathematica appendices. Second, the training component of the proposed work will introduce two graduate students and an undergraduate to these new mathematical techniques, as well as other computational and analytical approaches. This training will directly contribute to the increased integration of analytical and computational techniques in the biological sciences.