Adaptation in Stochastic Environments (Lecture Notes in Biomathematics)

The classical theory of natural selection, as developed by Fisher, Haldane, and 'Wright, and their followers, is in a sense a statistical theory. By and large the classical theory assumes that the underlying environment in which evolution transpires is both constant and stable - the theory is in this sense deterministic. In reality, on the other hand, nature is almost always changing and unstable. We do not yet possess a complete theory of natural selection in stochastic environ­ ments. Perhaps it has been thought that such a theory is unimportant, or that it would be too difficult. Our own view is that the time is now ripe for the development of a probabilistic theory of natural selection. The present volume is an attempt to provide an elementary introduction to this probabilistic theory. Each author was asked to con­ tribute a simple, basic introduction to his or her specialty, including lively discussions and speculation. We hope that the book contributes further to the understanding of the roles of "Chance and Necessity" (Monod 1971) as integrated components of adaptation in nature.