Chapter 1 The Evolution and Ecology of Cooperation – History and Concepts


Abstract We review the historical development of theory on the evolution and ecology of cooperation. Darwin launched this topic of inquiry with a surprisingly modern discussion of how fitness could be derived from both personal reproduction (direct fitness) and the reproduction of family (indirect fitness), and the anarchist Petr Kropotkin forever wove ecology into sociobiology with his book on Mutual Aid. From there, an eccentric group of protagonists took the helm and developed theories of social evolution with clear (although sometimes implicit) links to ecology. Here we provide a summary of the foundational theory, including Hamilton’s rule, neighbormodulated fitness, inclusive fitness, and levels of selection; discuss the classification and semantics of social behaviors; and give a brief overview of the various mechanisms that have been invoked to explain cooperation. Recently, models have emerged that frame the evolution of cooperation in an explicitly ecological context, including the theories of reproductive skew, cooperation in viscous populations, and the tragedy of the commons. In particular, rates and patterns of dispersal strongly influence fitness, the costs and benefits of sociality, and genetic relatedness in social groups. Thi

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