School of Mathematics

Jarrod Hadfield

Jarrod Hadfield absatract

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, UoE

The Spatial Scale of Local Adaptation

The distribution of phenotypes in space will be a compromise between local adaptation increasing the fit of phenotypes to local conditions and gene-flow reducing that fit.  Few theoretical models have considered the evolution of polygenic characters on spatially explicit landscapes, and those that have, only consider scenarios where optimum trait values change as a deterministic function of space, such as clines. Here I extend these models to include a stochastic spatially autocorrelated aspect to the environment, and as a consequence the optimal phenotype. I show that under these conditions the regression of phenotype on the environmental variable becomes steeper as the spatial scale on which individuals, or populations, are sampled becomes larger. I show that the intercept, asymptote and half-life of the function that describes how the regression changes with spatial scale provides information on biological parameters for which we currently know little about. Possible statistical strategies for drawing inferences from a large citizen-science data set are discussed.