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2021 The spatial Lambda-Fleming-Viot process with fluctuating selection
Niloy Biswas, Alison Etheridge, Aleksander Klimek
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Electron. J. Probab. 26: 1-51 (2021). DOI: 10.1214/21-EJP593


We are interested in populations in which the fitness of different genetic types fluctuates in time and space, driven by temporal and spatial fluctuations in the environment. For simplicity, our population is assumed to be composed of just two genetic types. Short bursts of selection acting in opposing directions drive to maintain both types at intermediate frequencies, while the fluctuations due to ‘genetic drift’ work to eliminate variation in the population.

We consider first a population with no spatial structure, modelled by an adaptation of the Lambda (or generalised) Fleming-Viot process, and derive a stochastic differential equation as a scaling limit. This amounts to a limit result for a Lambda-Fleming-Viot process in a rapidly fluctuating random environment. We then extend to a population that is distributed across a spatial continuum, which we model through a modification of the spatial Lambda-Fleming-Viot process with selection. In this setting we show that the scaling limit is a stochastic partial differential equation. As is usual with spatially distributed populations, in dimensions greater than one, the ‘genetic drift’ disappears in the scaling limit, but here we retain some stochasticity due to the fluctuations in the environment, resulting in a stochastic p.d.e. driven by a noise that is white in time but coloured in space.

We discuss the (rather limited) situations under which there is a duality with a system of branching and annihilating particles. We also write down a system of equations that captures the frequency of descendants of particular subsets of the population and use this same idea of ‘tracers’, which we learned from HALLATSCHEK and NELSON (2008, [23]) and DURRETT and FAN (2016, [13]), in numerical experiments with a closely related model based on the classical Moran model.

Funding Statement

Supported by EPSRC grant number EP/L015811/1


We should like to thank Tom Kurtz and Amandine Véber for extremely helpful discussions and two anonymous referees for a very careful reading of the manuscript and a large number of valuable suggestions and important corrections.


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Niloy Biswas. Alison Etheridge. Aleksander Klimek. "The spatial Lambda-Fleming-Viot process with fluctuating selection." Electron. J. Probab. 26 1 - 51, 2021.


Received: 12 March 2018; Accepted: 30 January 2021; Published: 2021
First available in Project Euclid: 23 March 2021

arXiv: 1802.08188
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/21-EJP593

Primary: 60G57 , 60J25 , 92D15
Secondary: 60G55 , 60H15

Keywords: fluctuating selection , scaling limits , spatial Lambda Fleming-Viot model , Stochastic growth models , tracer dynamics


Vol.26 • 2021
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