Next Article in Journal
Relative Concerns and Delays in Bargaining with Private Information
Next Article in Special Issue
An Evolutionary Theory of Suicide
Previous Article in Journal
The Effects of Entry in Bilateral Oligopoly
Previous Article in Special Issue
Dynamic Properties of Evolutionary Multi-player Games in Finite Populations
Games 2013, 4(3), 304-328; doi:10.3390/g4030304

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Adaptive Dynamics

1,2,3,* , 4 and 5
1 Department of Information and Computer Sciences, Nara Women's University, Kita-Uoya Nishimachi, Nara 630-8506, Japan 2 Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden 3 Evolution and Ecology Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schlossplatz 1, Laxenburg 2361, Austria 4 Department of Biology, Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group, Ecology Bldg., Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden 5 Arbeitsgruppe für nichtlineare Dynamik am Institut für Physik, University of Potsdam, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 April 2013 / Revised: 9 June 2013 / Accepted: 11 June 2013 / Published: 24 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Evolutionary Game Theory and Applications)
Download PDF [641 KB, uploaded 24 June 2013]


Adaptive dynamics is a mathematical framework for studying evolution. It extends evolutionary game theory to account for more realistic ecological dynamics and it can incorporate both frequency- and density-dependent selection. This is a practical guide to adaptive dynamics that aims to illustrate how the methodology can be applied to the study of specific systems. The theory is presented in detail for a single, monomorphic, asexually reproducing population. We explain the necessary terminology to understand the basic arguments in models based on adaptive dynamics, including invasion fitness, the selection gradient, pairwise invasibility plots (PIP), evolutionarily singular strategies, and the canonical equation. The presentation is supported with a worked-out example of evolution of arrival times in migratory birds. We show how the adaptive dynamics methodology can be extended to study evolution in polymorphic populations using trait evolution plots (TEPs). We give an overview of literature that generalises adaptive dynamics techniques to other scenarios, such as sexual, diploid populations, and spatially-structured populations. We conclude by discussing how adaptive dynamics relates to evolutionary game theory and how adaptive-dynamics techniques can be used in speciation research.
Keywords: adaptive dynamics; evolutionary game theory; pairwise invasibility plots; evolutionarily stable strategy; evolutionary branching adaptive dynamics; evolutionary game theory; pairwise invasibility plots; evolutionarily stable strategy; evolutionary branching
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
MDPI and ACS Style

Brännström, Å.; Johansson, J.; von Festenberg, N. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Adaptive Dynamics. Games 2013, 4, 304-328.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


Cited By

[Return to top]
Games EISSN 2073-4336 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert