Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 828–852 | Cite as

Neutral Genetic Patterns for Expanding Populations with Nonoverlapping Generations

  • Nathan G. Marculis
  • Roger Lui
  • Mark A. Lewis
Original Article


We investigate the inside dynamics of solutions to integrodifference equations to understand the genetic consequences of a population with nonoverlapping generations undergoing range expansion. To obtain the inside dynamics, we decompose the solution into neutral genetic components. The inside dynamics are given by the spatiotemporal evolution of the neutral genetic components. We consider thin-tailed dispersal kernels and a variety of per capita growth rate functions to classify the traveling wave solutions as either pushed or pulled fronts. We find that pulled fronts are synonymous with the founder effect in population genetics. Adding overcompensation to the dynamics of these fronts has no impact on genetic diversity in the expanding population. However, growth functions with a strong Allee effect cause the traveling wave solution to be a pushed front preserving the genetic variation in the population. In this case, the contribution of each neutral fraction can be computed by a simple formula dependent on the initial distribution of the neutral fractions, the traveling wave solution, and the asymptotic spreading speed.


Integrodifference equations Neutral genetic diversity Range expansion Traveling wave Founder effect Allee effect 



This research was supported by a grant to MAL from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant No. NET GP 434810-12) to the TRIA Network, with contributions from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Foothills Research Institute, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Natural Resources Canada-Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, West Fraser and Weyerhaeuser. MAL is also grateful for support through NSERC and the Canada Research Chair Program. NGM acknowledges support from NSERC TRIA-Net Collaborative Research Grant and would like to express his thanks to the Lewis Research Group for the many discussions and constructive feedback throughout this work.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan G. Marculis
    • 1
  • Roger Lui
    • 2
  • Mark A. Lewis
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Centre for Mathematical BiologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mathematical SciencesWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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