Thursday, 17 March 2016

BioMaths Colloquium - 17/03/2016

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2015/16

18 March 2016 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room 

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

Playing Colourful Games: 

Evolutionary Game Theory in Stochastic Environments

Dr Mike Fowler

Game theory has a rich history across diverse academic fields, from economics to psychology. It has arguably been applied most successfully in Evolutionary Biology, explaining phenomena across multiple taxa, ranging from mating systems to boldness behaviours, with particular focus on the evolution and maintenance of co-operation in social systems. 

Here, I explore the effect of spatial and temporal coloured environmental variability – so called in analogy with the dominant frequencies in visible light – on the spatially iterated Prisoner’s dilemma. Building on classic work by Nowak & May (1992), I introduced coloured temporal and spatial variability into the payoff defectors receive when meeting a co-operator, to investigate how this variability altered the proportion (and variability in this proportion) of co-operators found in a population. 

Results show that introducing coloured environmental variability has an intriguing array of context-dependent effects on the maintenance of co-operation in a population, from promotion of co-operaton to its complete loss. This talk is deliberately aimed at a general audience and includes at least one analogy with a pop music video.

The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 17 March 2016

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2016
17 March 2016 - 1pm - Zoology Museum


a driving force in the evolution of cooperation and punishment

Dr Nicola Raihani

Evolution is a strict accountant. Costly actions must be ultimately repaid if they are to come under positive selection. In this talk, I will consider the role of reputation in explaining the evolution of costly helping and costly punishing. I will explore when helping might improve an individual's reputation and - conversely - when reputation costs might lead individuals to hide their helpful actions from others. 

Although harming others is typically expected to result in reputation costs, there might nevertheless be scenarios where harming others actually improves an individual's reputation. I will present a conceptual framework and empirical evidence to describe when harmful actions result in reputation gains to the actor - and offer an evolutionary explanation as to why. 

Ultimately I will argue that reputation offers a powerful incentive for both helping and punishing in nature.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!