Jochen Blath, Maite Wilke Berenguer
Tobias Paul (HU)
01.04.2021 − 31.03.2024
Dormancy is an ubiquitous trait in microbial communities. It describes the ability of an organism to switch into a metabolically inactive and protected state, for example in response to environmental stress. Dormancy has important implications for the evolutionary, ecological and pathogenic character of microbial systems. This project derives and analyses new stochastic individual based models for the dynamics of dormancy-exhibiting biological systems.
We pursue two larger goals: On one hand, we aim to understand the influence of dormany on patterns of genetic diversity through the tools of population genetics, deriving as scaling limits from individual based models dual pairs of processes of diffusions and coalescents that incorporate feaures such as varying population size.
On the other hand we study invasion, fixation and coexistence regimes withing the framework of adaptive dynamics, again, based on individual based models and there many particle limits.
In our preprint  we investigated an individual based model with rare mutations. There, we found numerous effects of introducing a competition-induced dormancy mechanism into a preexisting model. For example, dormancy may favour the emergence of evolutionary branching, it may increase (or decrease) the speed of adaptation, dormancy increases the width of niches occupied by subspecies and dormancy may enable alternative mutational pathways in the trait space.
A simulation of our model presented in  featuring evolutionary branching. The image shows the population size of given traits over time where the size is indicated by colour.
Simulation of the model in  exhibiting a “tunneling” effect as mechanism for branching