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Pages 300-307
First published 2 September 2013

Replication strategies and the evolution of cooperation by exploitation

Markus Brede, Simon Tudge


Introducing the concept of replication strategies this paper studies the evolution of cooperation in populations of agents whose offspring follow a social strategy that is determined by a parent's replication strategy. Importantly, social and replication strategies may differ, thus allowing parents to construct their own social niche, defined by the behaviour of their offspring. We analyse the co-evolution of social and replication strategies in well-mixed and spatial populations. In well-mixed populations, cooperation-supporting equilibria can only exist if the transmission processes of social strategies and replication strategies are completely separate. In space, cooperation can evolve without complete separation of the timescales at which both strategy traits are propagated. Cooperation then evolves through the presence of offspring exploiting defectors whose presence and spatial arrangement can shield clusters of pure cooperators.