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Mathematics  2011 

Tropical hyperelliptic curves

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We study the locus of tropical hyperelliptic curves inside the moduli space of tropical curves of genus g. We define a harmonic morphism of metric graphs and prove that a metric graph is hyperelliptic if and only if it admits a harmonic morphism of degree 2 to a metric tree. This generalizes the work of Baker and Norine on combinatorial graphs to the metric case. We then prove that the locus of 2-edge-connected genus g tropical hyperelliptic curves is a (2g-1)-dimensional stacky polyhedral fan whose maximal cells are in bijection with trees on g-1 vertices with maximum valence 3. Finally, we show that the Berkovich skeleton of a classical hyperelliptic plane curve satisfying a certain tropical smoothness condition lies in a maximal cell of genus g called a standard ladder.


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