Olivia Chu & Daniel Cooney
Ecological and evolutionary dynamics are fundamentally driven by and intertwined with the structure of populations across a wide range of organization levels, from the origins of multicellular organisms to swarming and flocking behaviors of animal groups or cooperation and collective decision-making in human populations. In particular, the clustering of populations into localized group or network structures can facilitate the evolution of cooperative behaviors . In addition, the emergence and persistence of group structure can constitute a major evolutionary transition to higher levels of biological organization . The coevolutionary dynamics of population structure and genetic, behavioral, and cultural traits plays out over a range of time scales, from short-time ecological competition, to intermediate-term replicator dynamics, to long-term adaptive dynamics. In our session, we will present a survey of recent research focusing on collective and cooperative behav- iors using a variety of mathematical frameworks to study a broad range of evolutionary questions. From the mathematical perspective, our speakers will detail models using tools from the theories of dynamical systems, stochastic processes, and adaptive networks, and will study questions using approaches from evolutionary game theory, consensus and flocking dynamics, and aggregation-fragmentation processes. In term of biological applications, our speakers will present on research on the onset of multicellular life-cycles (Yuriy Pichugin), collective information-processing in animal groups (Pawel Romanczuk), the balance between homophily and heterophily in human interactions (Olivia Chu), and the co-evolution of homophily and cooperation from microbial communities to human societies (Feng Fu). With this variety of talks, we hope to bring together a diverse group of speakers, who are typically associated with different research communities, by uniting under the common theme of cooperative behavior and the emergence of group structure across scales.