Matthias Reiter (1), Steffen Rulands (1), Erwin Frey (1 contributed equally)
(Submitted on 25 Mar 2014)
Risk spreading in bacterial populations is generally regarded as a strategy to maximize survival. Here, we study its role during range expansion of a genetically diverse population where growth and motility are two alternative traits. We find that during the initial expansion phase fast growing cells do have a selective advantage. By contrast, asymptotically, generalists balancing motility and reproduction are evolutionarily most successful. These findings are rationalized by a set of coupled Fisher equations complemented by stochastic simulations.