Kin selection of time travel: the social evolutionary causes and consequences of dormancy

Kalyani Z. Twyman*, Andy Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

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A basic mechanism of kin selection is limited dispersal, whereby individuals remain close to their place of origin such that even indiscriminate social interaction tends to modify the fitness of genealogical kin. Accordingly, the causes and consequences of dispersal have received an enormous amount of attention in the social evolution literature. This work has focused on dispersal of individuals in space, yet similar logic should apply to dispersal of individuals in time (e.g. dormancy). We investigate how kin selection drives the evolution of dormancy and how dormancy modulates the evolution of altruism. We recover dormancy analogues of key results that have previously been given for dispersal, showing that: (1) kin selection favours dormancy as a means of relaxing competition between relatives; (2) when individuals may adjust their dormancy behaviour to local density, they are favoured to do so, resulting in greater dormancy in high-density neighbourhoods and a concomitant ‘constant non-dormant principle’; (3) when dormancy is constrained to be independent of density, there is no relationship between the rate of dormancy and the evolutionary potential for altruism; and (4) when dormancy is able to evolve in a density-dependent manner, a greater potential for altruism is expected in populations with lower dormancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20231247
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Issue number2006
Early online date13 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2023


  • Kin selection
  • Dormancy
  • Dispersal
  • Diapause
  • Altruism
  • Population viscosity


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