This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Fine-scale evolutionary dynamics can be challenging to tease out when focused on broad brush strokes of whole populations over long time spans. We propose a suite of diagnostic metrics that operate on lineages and phylogenies in digital evolution experiments with the aim of improving our capacity to quantitatively explore the nuances of evolutionary histories in digital evolution experiments. We present three types of lineage measurements: lineage length, mutation accumulation, and phenotypic volatility. Additionally, we suggest the adoption of four phylogeny measurements from biology: depth of the most-recent common ancestor, phylogenetic richness, phylogenetic divergence, and phylogenetic regularity. We demonstrate the use of each metric on a set of two-dimensional, real-valued optimization problems under a range of mutation rates and selection strengths, confirming our intuitions about what they can tell us about evolutionary dynamics.
This paper describes a new suite of metrics for summarizing the long-term evolutionary dynamics of lineages. It also points out some useful metrics used by biologists that we suggest should be used in computational evolution as well. We have submitted this paper to a peer-reviewed conference: Artificial Life 2018.