Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Humans arrive, other mammals shrink

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American “Mammals Shrink When Humans Migrate In” Another really cool infographic from Scientific American. What I really find interesting here is the difference between the recent arrival of humans (Australia, the Americas) and places where humans just innovated culturally (Africa, Eurasia). Those large mammals species that coevolved with our emergence as a highly-cultural species seem Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Conservation Biology, Evolution, Extinction, Human Evolution, Mammals, Natural Selection

Scientific American drops special issue on “Science of Being Human”

Posted 20 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American just released a great special issue on The Science of Being Human. It’s one of those nicely-integrated issues that Scientific American has become really good at creaating: from the graphics to the flow of the article topics, everything fits together into a nice three-part structure that explores a diversity of issues surround human evolution and our resulting Read More

A Minor Post, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Periodicals

Don’t blame people for being obese (blame their neighborhood)

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Science News “Artificial intelligence spots obesity from space” Wow, if you are the kind of person who tends to put a lot of stock in “personal responsibility”, maybe you don’t want to read the brief article above. Because it is an amazing piece of evidence that individual human behaviors are highly influenced by the environments that Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Environmental Justice, Gene by Environment Interactions, Health & Medicine, Urban Ecology, Urban Planning

Mom: “Eat my sh*t and then help your younger siblings”

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Responses to pup vocalizations in subordinate naked mole-rats are induced by estradiol ingested through coprophagy of queen’s feces” Okay, we all knew that naked mole rats are weird. The inbreeding, the eusociality in a mammal, and… well, the look. But this is a new wrinkle. Apparently mom is sending Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Kin Selection

Mom leaves, offspring get buff and work together

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Science News “When this beetle mom disappears, her children become stronger and nicer” There are so many cool aspects to this study! First, it is amazing that lab evolution can produce this dramatic a change in both anatomy and behavior. These results are kind of like what we observe in artificial selection scenarios: there’s a lot Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Competition, Cooperation, Kin Selection, Parenting

Wildfires driven more by lowered precipitation than elevated temperatures or reduced snowpack

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Decreasing fire season precipitation increased recent western US forest wildfire activity” There’s a little bit of a “choose your climate change poison” to this study, but it is interesting to be able to isolate the specific climate-driven effects that are causing more wildfires to crop up.

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Urban Ecology, Urban Planning

Are corals riding ocean currents to exert climate change dominance over macroalgae?

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Ocean currents and herbivory drive macroalgae-to-coral community shift under climate warming” What’s really interesting in this study is the interaction it discovered: climate change may change competitive dynamics, but it does so in the presence of other factors which also must be modeled in order to predict future competive Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Ecological Modeling, Marine Ecosystems, Modeling (General), Spatially Explicit Modeling

We aren’t the only gardeners on Madgascar

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Another cool find from Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: mouse lemurs appear to have a mutualistic relationship with a variety of plants that they use for food and protection! National Geographic “The Surprising Reason Tiny Lemurs ‘Grow’ Their Own Gardens” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society “Mouse lemurs (Primates: Cheirogaleidae) cultivate green fruit gardens “

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Mutualism, Primates

Meta-analysis suggests that pesticides impair bee memory and learning

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

I read about this first in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, but here is the actual article: Journal of Applied Ecology “Quantifying the impact of pesticides on learning and memory in bees” This is an important study, because it suggests that we need to ask more subtle questions about the impacts of pesticides on our pollinators!

A Minor Post, Mutualism, Pollination, Pollution, Sustainable Agriculture

No-till has some big no-catastrophic-climate-change potential

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

I learned about this from reading Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, but here are some other sources reporting on the same study… NPR St. Louis Public Radio “Missouri could offset carbon emissions from agriculture by conserving the soil, report says” Climate Central “Missouri Farms Hold Big Potential as Carbon Storehouse” These are exciting findings! They Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture