This introductory chapter provides an overview of frequency-dependent selection—the phenomenon that the evolving population is part of the changing environment determining the evolutionary trajectory. Selection is frequency-dependent if the sign and magnitude of the correlations between heritable variation and reproductive variation change as a consequence of changes in the trait distribution that are themselves generated by such correlations. From the perspective of mathematical modeling, the realm of frequency dependence in evolution is larger than the realm of situations in which selection is not frequency dependent, because the absence of frequency dependence in a mathematical model of evolution essentially means that some parameters describing certain types of biological interactions are set to zero. Thus, in a suitable parameter space, frequency independence corresponds to the region around zero, while everything else corresponds to frequency dependence. In this way, frequency-dependent selection should therefore be considered the norm, not the exception, for evolutionary processes.
Keywords: frequency-dependent selection, evolutionary trajectory, mathematical modeling, frequency dependence, frequency independence, evolutionary processes