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Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal






The sequential search strategy is a prominent model of searcher behavior, derived as a rule by which females might sample and choose a mate from a distribution of prospective partners. The strategy involves a threshold criterion against which prospective mates are evaluated. The optimal threshold depends on the attributes of prospective mates, which are likely to vary across generations or within the lifetime of searchers due to stochastic environmental events. The extent of this variability and the cost to acquire information on the distribution of the quality of prospective mates determine whether a learned or environmentally canalized threshold is likely to be favored. In this paper, we determine conditions on cross-generational perturbations of the distribution of male phenotypes that allow for the evolutionary stability of an environmentally canalized threshold. In particular, we derive conditions under which there is a genetically determined threshold that is optimal over an evolutionary time scale in comparison to any other unlearned threshold. These considerations also reveal a simple algorithm by which the threshold could be learned.


This is an open access article under the CC BY license.


Original Publication Citation

Cheng, R., Seubert, S. M., & Wiegmann, D. D. (2014). Mate choice and the evolutionary stability of a fixed threshold in a sequential search strategy. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, 10(16), 8-11. doi:10.1016/j.csbj.2014.05.002

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