Universal scaling of extinction time in stochastic evolutionary dynamics

Ching-I Huang, Chun-Chung Chen, Hsiu-Hau Lin

Scientific Reports 12, Article number: 22403 (2022) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-27102-0

Evolutionary dynamics is well captured by the replicator equations when the population is infinite and well-mixed. However, the extinction dynamics is modified with finite and structured populations. Experiments on the non-transitive ecosystem containing three populations of bacteria found that the ecological stability sensitively depends on the spatial structure of the populations. Based on the Reference–Gamble–Birth algorithm, we use agent-based Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the extinction dynamics in the rock-paper-scissors ecosystem with finite and structured populations. On the fully-connected network, the extinction time in stable and unstable regimes falls into two universal functions when plotted with the rescaled variables. On the two dimensional grid, the spatial structure changes the transition boundary between stable and unstable regimes but doesn’t change its extinction trend. The finding of universal scaling in extinction dynamics is unexpected, and may provide a powerful method to classify different evolutionary dynamics into universal classes.

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