Thermal games: frequency-dependent models of thermal adaptation
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 British Ecological Society
Volume 23, Issue 3, pages 510–520, June 2009
How to Cite
Mitchell, W. A. and Angilletta Jr, M. J. (2009), Thermal games: frequency-dependent models of thermal adaptation. Functional Ecology, 23: 510–520. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01542.x
- Issue published online: 21 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2009
- Received 16 June 2008; accepted 13 January 2009; Handling Editor: Andrew Clarke
- game theory;
- Nash equilibrium;
- performance breadth;
- thermal performance curve;
- thermal optimum;
- 1Most models of thermal adaptation ignore biotic interactions, and those that do consider biotic interactions assume that competitors or predators cannot respond to adaptation by the focal species. Nevertheless, real biotic interactions involve responsive entities, which can be more accurately modelled using evolutionary game theory.
- 2We present a two-part analysis of a thermal game between prey and predators. First, we model a game in which prey choose patches on the basis of operative temperature and predation risk, whereas predators choose patches on the basis of prey density. Second, we consider how this thermal game influences the evolution of the prey's thermal physiology.
- 3The solution of the thermal game is an evolutionarily stable Nash equilibrium in which prey divide their time equally among a range of thermal patches while predators bias their hunting efforts toward warmer patches, even though they derive no thermoregulatory benefit from doing so. Furthermore, the optimal range of temperatures selected by prey and predators increases as the lethality of predators increases.
- 4This thermal game potentially influences the evolution of the prey's thermal physiology. When predators are less lethal, prey should thermoregulate over a narrower range of temperatures, resulting in selection for thermal specialization of physiological performance. But when predators are very lethal, prey should thermoregulate over a broad range of temperatures; in this case, prey pay no fitness cost for being thermal generalists.
- 5Evolutionary game theory provides a powerful tool for generating hypotheses about the effects of biotic interactions on evolution in heterogeneous environments.