Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Evolution 2014: Aphids protect themselves from parasitoids by harboring a bacteria whose viral parasite is toxic

Posted 21 Jun 2014 / 0

Andrew Smith of Drexel University spoke about a four-species interaction that could best be described as “my symbiont’s enemy is my parasitoid’s toxic enemy” scenario. Aphids can avoid being parasitized by a parasitoid wasp if they harbor particular bacterial strains. What’s interesting is that the bacteria don’t directly confer resistance to the parasitoid: instead, it is the Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution

Is “nest parasitism” really “nest mutualism”?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

NPR All Things Considered “This Freeloading Bird Brings Help — And The Help Smells Gross” It is hard to believe that feeding an entire extra non-offspring would be in the self-interest of a bird, but as this short points out, costs and benefits are always environment-specific. In this case, the “parasitic” effect of having to raise Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Birds, Coevolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Radio & Podcasts

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

Posted 05 Feb 2014 / 0

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand this behavior. But you also need to understand how sloths directly benefit moths and how Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest

Should we emulate the cooperative and conservative habits of the sloth?

Posted 19 Sep 2013 / 0

Inhabitat “The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Sloths Teach Us About Energy Efficiency?“

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Coevolution, Green Design, Mutualism, Tropical Forest, Web

Additional evidence that obesity may be due to environment, not just habits

Posted 09 Sep 2013 / 0

NPR Shots “Gut Bacteria We Pick Up As Kids Stick With Us For Decades” NPR Shots “Staying Healthy May Mean Learning To Love Our Microbiomes” NPR Shots “Diverse Gut Microbes, A Trim Waistline And Health Go Together” NPR Shots “How A Change In Gut Microbes Can Affect Weight” What I find interesting here is the Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Health & Medicine, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Mutualism, Radio & Podcasts

A tour of your diverse microbiome, and the things that might deplete that diversity

Posted 09 Sep 2013 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint” It’s a bit corny, but this is a great tour of our diverse microbiome. It is critical that people start to recognize how potentially-damaging overuse of antibiotics and fear of bacteria could be to our health. It will be exciting to see Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Mutualism, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity

Cooperative child-rearing pays dividends for ruffed lemurs, irrespective of kinship

Posted 23 Aug 2013 / 0

Mongabay News “The evolution of cooperation: communal nests are best for ruffed lemurs” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology “Communal nesting, kinship, and maternal success in a social primate” What I find particularly interesting about these findings is that they appear to show that kinship — if a factor at all — might well be a byproduct Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Kin Selection, Mating systems, Mutualism, Reciprocity, Reproductive Fitness, Tropical Forest, Web

Dog license dataset opens up huge potential for understanding the dog-human mutualism

Posted 26 Jan 2013 / 0

WNYC “NYC’s Top Dogs: Mapping Names & Breeds in the City” WNYC “Dogs of NYC” Data sets like these, even flawed by their incompleteness (only 20% of dogs in New York City are registered) are fascinating. The human relationship with dogs has changed radically as we have urbanized as a species: I would suggest that the dominance Read More

A Minor Post, Canids, Coevolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Geography, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Mutualism, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Web

Lee Alan Dugatkin blesses Slate with a piece on Kropotkin

Posted 31 Oct 2012 / 0

Slate “The Russian Anarchist Prince Who Challenged Evolution” I really appreciate the fact that Dugatkin uses Kropotkin to bring to light that Darwinian evolution has been — even in the time and work of Darwin — a process that was imagined to involve both competition and cooperation. Only in recent times has evolution become synonymous Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Biography, Coevolution, Competition, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolution, Mutualism, Political Science, Predation, Religion, Taiga (Boreal Forest), Tundra, Web

Megan Frederickson shares the wonder of ant cooperation with Toronto Library patrons

Posted 31 Oct 2012 / 0

Toronto Public Library/University of Toronto Exploring Evolution series “The Evolution of Cooperation: Ant-Plant Associations in Peru” We need more scientists out there explaining the wonders of evolutionary biology!

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Cooperation, Evolution, Interactions, Keystone Species, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Public Outreach, Social Networks, Tropical Forest