Communications in Mathematical Sciences

Volume 19 (2021)

Number 7

Selection and mutation in a shifting and fluctuating environment

Pages: 1761 – 1798



Susely Figueroa Iglesias (Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse, Université de Toulouse, France)

Sepideh Mirrahimi (Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse, Université de Toulouse, France)


We study the evolutionary dynamics of a phenotypically structured population in a changing environment, where the environmental conditions vary with a linear trend but in an oscillatory manner. Such phenomena can be described by parabolic Lotka–Volterra type equations with non-local competition and a time-dependent growth rate. We first study the long-time behavior of the solution to this problem. Next, using an approach based on Hamilton–Jacobi equations we study asymptotically such long-time solutions when the effects of the mutations are small. We prove that, as the effect of the mutations vanishes, the phenotypic density of the population concentrates on a single trait which varies linearly with time, while the size of the population oscillates periodically. In contrast with the case of an environment without linear shift, such dominant trait does not have the maximal growth rate in the averaged environment and there is a cost on the growth rate due to the environmental shift. We also provide an asymptotic expansion for the average size of the population and for the critical speed above which the population goes extinct, which is closely related to the derivation of an asymptotic expansion for the Floquet eigenvalue in terms of the diffusion rate. By mean of a biological example, this expansion allows to show that the fluctuations on the environment may help the population to follow the environmental shift in a better way.


parabolic integro-differential equations, time periodic coefficients, Hamilton–Jacobi equation, Dirac concentrations, adaptive evolution, changing environment

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

35A02, 35B10, 35C20, 35D40, 35P15, 92D15

Received 21 October 2019

Accepted 4 March 2021

Published 7 September 2021