MITACS/PIMS Mathematical Biology Seminar: Stilianos Louca

  • Date: 10/11/2012
Stilianos Louca, UBC

University of British Columbia


Nursery pollination mutualisms as evolutionary traps - A population-genetical mean-field model.


I will talk about my research at the Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine in 2011, where I studied the coevolution of the globeflower Trollius europaeus and its specialized nursery pollinators Chiastocheta flies. These small flies feed, mate, and lay eggs on T. europaeus, and the larvae develop only on the host-plant seeds. The polination of T. europaeus is mainly carried out by Chiastocheta, since most other insects are to large to enter the flower. The interaction is therefore one of the few examples of extremely specialized reciprocal interaction. The emergence and stability of this apparent mutualism is still an open question, but my research has shown that it may have arrived unintentionally as an evolutionary trap. I will introduce a mechanistic population-genetical mean-field model, used for the numerical analysis of their coevolution. The model can be generalized to many similar multiple-species interaction systems. Reference: Louca et al. (2012), Specialized nursery pollination mutualisms as evolutionary traps stabilized by antagonistic traits, Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol 296, pp. 65-83

Other Information: 

Location: ESB 2012