The notion of fitness is central in evolutionary biology. We use a simple spatially extended predator-prey or host-pathogen model to show a generic case where the average number of offspring of an individual as a measure of fitness fails to characterize the evolutionary dynamics. Mutants with high initial reproduction ratios have lineages that eventually go extinct due to local overexploitation. We propose general quantitative measures of fitness that reflect the importance of time scale in evolutionary processes.
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