It doesn’t always pay to be fit: success landscapes

Trung V. Phan, Gao Wang, Tuan K. Do, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis, Sarah Amend, Emma Hammarlund, Ken Pienta, Joel Brown, Liyu Liu, Robert H. Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Landscapes play an important role in many areas of biology, in which biological lives are deeply entangled. Here we discuss a form of landscape in evolutionary biology which takes into account (1) initial growth rates, (2) mutation rates, (3) resource consumption by organisms, and (4) cyclic changes in the resources with time. The long-term equilibrium number of surviving organisms as a function of these four parameters forms what we call a success landscape, a landscape we would claim is qualitatively different from fitness landscapes which commonly do not include mutations or resource consumption/changes in mapping genomes to the final number of survivors. Although our analysis is purely theoretical, we believe the results have possibly strong connections to how we might treat diseases such as cancer in the future with a deeper understanding of the interplay between resource degradation, mutation, and uncontrolled cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-400
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology


  • Cancer
  • Evolution dynamics
  • Extinction
  • Fitness
  • Landscapes
  • Mutations
  • Resources


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