Adaptation in space

Most natural populations are spread out in space, so that families from different parts of the range may go many generations without ever coming near each other. How does this spatial structure interact with adaptive evolution? We are looking at several interesting effects:

  • Because spatial structure limits competition, it slows down the rate at which adaptive alleles spread. This greatly increases the amount of clonal interference in asexual populations, but what about sexual populations? Preprint coming soon!
  • So space has a large effect on how adaptive alleles interact with each other, but how does it change how they affect neutral variation, i.e., how does hitchhiking work in space? Very strangely!
  • Spatial structure can have huge effects on the probability of complex adaptation, but in which circumstances exactly? And how does answer depend on whether the population is also adapting in other ways?