Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

YES, microplastics end up in our guts. Now the question is from where? And to what effect?

Posted 22 Oct 2018 / 0

The New York Times “Microplastics Find Their Way Into Your Gut, a Pilot Study Finds” For those of us who have been aware of the quickly-emerging fields studying microplastic pollution, these results are far from surprising. I am in fact more surprised that this rather limited pilot study was the first of its kind. While Read More

A Minor Post, Environmental Justice, Health & Medicine, Pollution

How renewable power sources grow more trees

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Science “Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation” These kinds of positive feedback loops are exciting. Generally, we are really good at creating deleterious positive feedback loops: changes that further exacerbate our environmental dilemmas. But as this modeling article demonstrates, careful re-engineering of our environment can create Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Ecological Modeling, Ecological Restoration, Ecology, Modeling (General), Sustainable Energy

Australia’s a hot spot for climate change politics, climate change science, and climate change suffering

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Nature News “Global warming tops the agenda as climate brings down a third Australian prime minister” As this article makes clear, Australia is an interesting country. It’s not “ground-zero” for climate change per se, but compared to other developed countries it is suffering from climate change in rather profound ways. Some of this suffering relates to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Political Science, Public Policy

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

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 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