Invasion fitness, inclusive fitness, and reproductive numbers in heterogeneous populations

Laurent Lehmann, Charles Mullon, Erol Akçay, Jeremy Van Cleve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


How should fitness be measured to determine which phenotype or "strategy" is uninvadable when evolution occurs in a group-structured population subject to local demographic and environmental heterogeneity? Several fitness measures, such as basic reproductive number, lifetime dispersal success of a local lineage, or inclusive fitness have been proposed to address this question, but the relationships between them and their generality remains unclear. Here, we ascertain uninvadability (all mutant strategies always go extinct) in terms of the asymptotic per capita number of mutant copies produced by a mutant lineage arising as a single copy in a resident population ("invasion fitness"). We show that from invasion fitness uninvadability is equivalently characterized by at least three conceptually distinct fitness measures: (i) lineage fitness, giving the average individual fitness of a randomly sampled mutant lineage member; (ii) inclusive fitness, giving a reproductive value weighted average of the direct fitness costs and relatedness weighted indirect fitness benefits accruing to a randomly sampled mutant lineage member; and (iii) basic reproductive number (and variations thereof) giving lifetime success of a lineage in a single group, and which is an invasion fitness proxy. Our analysis connects approaches that have been deemed different, generalizes the exact version of inclusive fitness to class-structured populations, and provides a biological interpretation of natural selection on a mutant allele under arbitrary strength of selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1702
Number of pages14
JournalEvolution; international journal of organic evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.


  • Adaptation
  • inclusive fitness
  • invasion fitness
  • reproductive number
  • uninvadability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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