Dynamic Analysis of Bet-Hedging Strategies as a Protection Mechanism against Environmental Fluctuations
In order to increase their robustness against environmental fluctuations, many biological populations have developed bet-hedging mechanisms in which the population `bets' against the presence of prolonged favorable environmental conditions by having a few individual behaving as if they sensed a threatening or stressful environment. As a result, the population (as a whole) increases its chances of surviving environmental fluctuations in the long term, while sacrificing short-term performance. In this paper, we propose a theoretical framework, based on Markov jump linear systems, to model and evaluate the performance of bet-hedging strategies in the presence of stochastic fluctuations. We illustrate our results using numerical simulations.