Publication details

Niche Construction and the Evolution of Complexity

Tim Taylor
2004
Abstract

An individual-based model of the process of niche construction is presented, whereby organisms disturb the environment experienced by their neighbours. This disturbance in local conditions creates a niche that potentially could be filled by another species (which would then create still more niches and so on). The model is unique in allowing the complexity of the organisms — measured by the number of genes they possess in order to be well adapted to their local environment — to evolve over time, and is therefore the first model with which it is possible to study the contribution of niche construction to the evolution of organism complexity. Results of experiments demonstrate that the process of niche construction does indeed introduce an active drive for organisms with more genes. This is the first explicit example of a model which possesses an intrinsic drive for the evolution of complexity.

Full text
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Reference

Taylor, T. (2004). Niche Construction and the Evolution of Complexity. In J. Pollack, M. A. Bedau, P. Husbands, R. A. Watson, & T. Ikegami (Eds.), Artificial Life IX: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (pp. 375–380). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{taylor2004niche,
  author = {Taylor, Tim},
  title = {Niche Construction and the Evolution of Complexity},
  booktitle = {Artificial Life IX: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems},
  year = {2004},
  editor = {Pollack, Jordan and Bedau, Mark A. and Husbands, Phil and Watson, Richard A. and Ikegami, Takashi},
  pages = {375-380},
  address = {Cambridge, MA},
  publisher = {{MIT} Press},
  category = {conference},
  keywords = {evoeco}
}

Notes

Record on departmental database: EDI-INF-RR-0193

The source code for the model discussed in this paper is available here.

If you have found this paper by the reference to it that appears in Evolutionary self-organization in complex fluids by McCaskill, Packard, Rasmussen and Bedau, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2007 (also published as a Santa Fe Institute Working Paper), please note that the reference is incorrect. The work referred to in that paper is actually described in my other paper from the ALIFE IX proceedings, Redrawing the Boundary between Organism and Environment.

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