# Mathematical Modeling of Role Selection Dynamics Among Obligate Cooperative Breeders

## Disciplines

Applied Mathematics | Biology | Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Research Methods in Life Sciences

## Abstract (300 words maximum)

Cooperative breeding is a social system in which individuals, often called helpers, forgo reproduction to provide alloparental care to young. By expending energy and delaying reproduction, helpers provide care at a personal fitness cost. This motivates an important evolutionary question: under what conditions is it beneficial to act altruistically rather than selfishly in a cooperatively breeding social group? To address this question, we developed a system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) that combine population dynamics with game-theoretic role selection dynamics in a population of obligate cooperative breeders where each individual can choose one of two roles: breeder or helper. We studied our model using a combination of mathematical analysis and MATLAB simulations. Through this analysis, we determined conditions under which the population persists or dies off.

## Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Mathematics

Glenn Young

## Share

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Mathematical Modeling of Role Selection Dynamics Among Obligate Cooperative Breeders

Cooperative breeding is a social system in which individuals, often called helpers, forgo reproduction to provide alloparental care to young. By expending energy and delaying reproduction, helpers provide care at a personal fitness cost. This motivates an important evolutionary question: under what conditions is it beneficial to act altruistically rather than selfishly in a cooperatively breeding social group? To address this question, we developed a system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) that combine population dynamics with game-theoretic role selection dynamics in a population of obligate cooperative breeders where each individual can choose one of two roles: breeder or helper. We studied our model using a combination of mathematical analysis and MATLAB simulations. Through this analysis, we determined conditions under which the population persists or dies off.