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Cooperative Equilibrium in Biosphere Evolution: Reconciling Competition and Cooperation in Evolutionary Ecology

Cooperative Equilibrium in Biosphere Evolution: Reconciling Competition and Cooperation in... As our understanding of biological evolution continues to deepen, tension still surrounds the relationship between competition and cooperation in the evolution of the biosphere, with rival viewpoints often associated with the Red Queen and Black Queen hypotheses respectively. This essay seeks to reconcile these viewpoints by integrating observations of some general trends in biosphere evolution with concepts from game theory. It is here argued that biodiversity and ecological cooperation are intimately related, and that both tend to cyclically increase over biological history; this is likely due to the greater relative stability of cooperation over competition as a means of long-term conflict resolution within ecosystems. By integrating this view of the biosphere with existing models such as Niche Game Theory, it may be argued that competition and cooperation in ecosystems coexist at equilibria which shift preferentially towards increasing cooperation over biological history. This potentially points to a state of “cooperative equilibrium” as a limit or endpoint in long-term biosphere evolution, such that Black Queen and Red Queen behavior dominate different phases in an evolutionary movement towards optimal cooperative stability in ecological networks. This concept, if accepted, may also bear implications for developing future mathematical models in evolutionary biology, as well as for resolving the perennial debate regarding the relative roles of conflict and harmony in nature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Acta Biotheoretica Springer Journals

Cooperative Equilibrium in Biosphere Evolution: Reconciling Competition and Cooperation in Evolutionary Ecology

Acta Biotheoretica , Volume 69 (4) – Dec 1, 2021

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Springer Nature B.V. 2021
ISSN
0001-5342
eISSN
1572-8358
DOI
10.1007/s10441-021-09409-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As our understanding of biological evolution continues to deepen, tension still surrounds the relationship between competition and cooperation in the evolution of the biosphere, with rival viewpoints often associated with the Red Queen and Black Queen hypotheses respectively. This essay seeks to reconcile these viewpoints by integrating observations of some general trends in biosphere evolution with concepts from game theory. It is here argued that biodiversity and ecological cooperation are intimately related, and that both tend to cyclically increase over biological history; this is likely due to the greater relative stability of cooperation over competition as a means of long-term conflict resolution within ecosystems. By integrating this view of the biosphere with existing models such as Niche Game Theory, it may be argued that competition and cooperation in ecosystems coexist at equilibria which shift preferentially towards increasing cooperation over biological history. This potentially points to a state of “cooperative equilibrium” as a limit or endpoint in long-term biosphere evolution, such that Black Queen and Red Queen behavior dominate different phases in an evolutionary movement towards optimal cooperative stability in ecological networks. This concept, if accepted, may also bear implications for developing future mathematical models in evolutionary biology, as well as for resolving the perennial debate regarding the relative roles of conflict and harmony in nature.

Journal

Acta BiotheoreticaSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2021

Keywords: Cooperation; Competition; Evolution; Symbiosis; Biodiversity; Equilibrium

References