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Environmental Regulation Can Arise Under Minimal Assumptions

Environmental Regulation Can Arise Under Minimal Assumptions
Environmental Regulation Can Arise Under Minimal Assumptions
Models that demonstrate environmental regulation as a consequence of organism and environment coupling all require a number of core assumptions. Many previous models, such as Daisyworld, require that certain environment-altering traits have a selective advantage when those traits also contribute towards global regulation. We present a model that results in the regulation of a global environmental resource through niche construction without employing this and other common assumptions. There is no predetermined environmental optimum towards which regulation should proceed assumed or coded into the model. Nevertheless, polymorphic stable states that resist perturbation emerge from the simulated co-evolution of organisms and environment. In any single simulation a series of different stable states are realised, punctuated by rapid transitions. Regulation is achieved through two main subpopulations that are adapted to slightly different resource values, which force the environmental resource in opposing directions. This maintains the resource within a comparatively narrow band over a wide range of external perturbations. Population driven oscillations in the resource appear to be instrumental in protecting the regulation against mutations that would otherwise destroy it. Sensitivity analysis shows that the regulation is robust to mutation and to a wide range of parameter settings. Given the minimal assumptions employed, the results could reveal a mechanism capable of environmental regulation through the by-products of organisms.
0022-5193
653-666
McDonald-Gibson, J.
ba3c2496-0ec3-4b8c-b113-7bbd84694c36
Dyke, J. G.
e2cc1b09-ae44-4525-88ed-87ee08baad2c
Di Paolo, E.
88c07ea5-4a0e-4e7a-9724-d290d4113bbe
Harvey, I. R.
2e579894-3074-48bc-b8a3-454364b3709c
McDonald-Gibson, J.
ba3c2496-0ec3-4b8c-b113-7bbd84694c36
Dyke, J. G.
e2cc1b09-ae44-4525-88ed-87ee08baad2c
Di Paolo, E.
88c07ea5-4a0e-4e7a-9724-d290d4113bbe
Harvey, I. R.
2e579894-3074-48bc-b8a3-454364b3709c

McDonald-Gibson, J., Dyke, J. G., Di Paolo, E. and Harvey, I. R. (2008) Environmental Regulation Can Arise Under Minimal Assumptions. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 251 (4), 653-666.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Models that demonstrate environmental regulation as a consequence of organism and environment coupling all require a number of core assumptions. Many previous models, such as Daisyworld, require that certain environment-altering traits have a selective advantage when those traits also contribute towards global regulation. We present a model that results in the regulation of a global environmental resource through niche construction without employing this and other common assumptions. There is no predetermined environmental optimum towards which regulation should proceed assumed or coded into the model. Nevertheless, polymorphic stable states that resist perturbation emerge from the simulated co-evolution of organisms and environment. In any single simulation a series of different stable states are realised, punctuated by rapid transitions. Regulation is achieved through two main subpopulations that are adapted to slightly different resource values, which force the environmental resource in opposing directions. This maintains the resource within a comparatively narrow band over a wide range of external perturbations. Population driven oscillations in the resource appear to be instrumental in protecting the regulation against mutations that would otherwise destroy it. Sensitivity analysis shows that the regulation is robust to mutation and to a wide range of parameter settings. Given the minimal assumptions employed, the results could reveal a mechanism capable of environmental regulation through the by-products of organisms.

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Published date: 2008
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 272880
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/272880
ISSN: 0022-5193
PURE UUID: 021e5f4a-1b64-4463-b00b-296230f0eb08
ORCID for J. G. Dyke: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6779-1682

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Date deposited: 29 Sep 2011 13:21
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:44

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