Environmental Stochasticity and the Speed of Evolution

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Biological populations are subject to two types of noise: demographic stochasticity due to fluctuations in the reproductive success of individuals, and environmental variations that affect coherently the relative fitness of entire populations. The rate in which the average fitness of a community increases has been considered so far using models with pure demographic stochasticity; here we present some theoretical considerations and numerical results for the general case where environmental variations are taken into account. When the competition is pairwise, fitness fluctuations are shown to reduce the speed of evolution, while under global competition the speed increases due to environmental stochasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-142
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number1
Early online date2 Mar 2018
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Demographic stochasticity
  • Environmental stochasticity
  • Fixation probability
  • Population genetics
  • Speed of evolution


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