Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

China shifts a failed cultural policy designed to stabilize population

Posted 29 Oct 2015 / 1

The New York Times “China to End One-Child Policy, Allowing Families Two Children” This was a long time coming (see Mara’s Hvistendahl‘s great 2010 piece in Science Magazine for perspective), but the Chinese Communist Party has finally decided to replace its “one child policy” with a “two child policy”. From an evolutionary perspective, there is Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Carrying Capacity, Cultural Evolution, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ethics, Law, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Social Norms

Open Book Publishers, an alternative model to academic presses

Posted 28 Oct 2015 / 0

Open Book Publishers “Introducing Some Data to the Open Access Debate: OBP’s Business Model” Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3. This is a fascinating model, and one that I will be keeping in mind as I figure out where to land my first book project. Certainly the way that this is set up is far Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Public Outreach, Publication

Pivot #1: My popular science book idea may not get picked up by a literary agent

Posted 26 Oct 2015 / 0

I am now about halfway through a one-semester sabbatical. As I have posted about before, the central project of my sabbatical is a popular science book with the working title Breeders, Propagators, & Creators. I have had this idea kicking around in my head for a long time, and being on sabbatical has afforded me Read More

A Major Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Public Outreach, Publication, Science as a career

Major masts made by multiplicative modification

Posted 22 Oct 2015 / 0

Ecology Letters “Extended flowering intervals of bamboos evolved by discrete multiplication” This is a great example of how theory can be used to explain patterns in nature by matching patterns in nature. Masting is a group-level evolved phenomenon: producing seeds in abundance during a single year where every other plant of your species is doing Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Multilevel Selection, Predation

Group phenotypic composition: implications for individuals and their groups

Posted 22 Oct 2015 / 0

Trends in Ecology & Evolution “From Individuals to Groups and Back: The Evolutionary Implications of Group Phenotypic Composition” Man, I wish that this article was written in a more accessible manner, because what it presents is important. There is a critical feedback between how the composition of groups affects individuals and how individuals affect the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolutionary Modeling, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phenotypic Plasticity, Population Genetics, Social Diversity

Does the rapid spread of a culture of over-exploitation intensify our impact on wild food sources?

Posted 20 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment “Contagious exploitation of marine resources” This seems like a really great case study for cultural evolution: the authors describe the spread of sea cucumber fishing as an “epidemic”, but what they really mean is that the idea of economically exploiting this marine food source spread rapidly and in a Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Cultural Evolution, Resource Consumption

Are parasites really ecologically necessary?

Posted 20 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment “A world without parasites: exploring the hidden ecology of infections” I was really excited to read this article because this is an issue that I have thought a fair bit about. As you will know if you have read my posts before, I am not the biggest fan of Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Parasitism, Predation

Shark attacks are down, but you still have to make good decisions out there on the ocean

Posted 20 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment “Reconciling predator conservation with public safety” The predators that survive us are often the predators that we survive: shy mountain lions have done better than wolves where people live, perhaps because our interactions with them have selectively removed the most aggressive predators. Sharks are a whole different story because Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Predation, Public Policy

While we vacuum the seas, we may as well clean them of debris…

Posted 20 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment “Norway to start trawling for trash” I guess this is a cool initiative, one that capitalizes on a philosophy of as long as you are out there sweeping the seas for fish, you might as well dispose properly of all the garbage that you “catch”. But I can’t help Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Marine Ecosystems, Pollution, Sustainable Harvesting

Cargo ships a major source of NOx emissions

Posted 20 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment “Ships steam slowly toward emissions reductions” Not surprisingly, all those cheap goods shipped overseas are not so inexpensive when their full environmental impact is accounted for. And regulating trans-oceanic emissions is going to be a challenge… although the study discussed in this article seems to be using satellite technologies Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Climate Change, Pollution, Resource Consumption, Sustainable Transportation