Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Food is personal, sometimes ethical, but rarely political

Posted 15 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Nick Gray via Wikimedia Commons The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Vegetarian Lesson” This article by Chad Lavin neatly distills ideas and issues that I have been grappling with for more than half my life. As a current-day ecologist who was a vegetarian more than a decade before I took my first ecology course, Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Cooperation, Food, Parasitism, Political Science, Predation, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Uncategorized

Can understanding cooperation lead to higher-yield crops?

Posted 07 Jan 2016 / 0

The Scientist “The Evolution of Cooperation” Starting with the title, this short article is not bringing anything all that new to the existing literature on how cooperation evolves. But once I realized that this piece was really about the direction of Denison’s research on rhizobia, the rest of the basic background made a lot more Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Competition, Cooperation, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Web

Jonathan Haidt on the business advantage of being ethical

Posted 10 Nov 2015 / 0

This is a fascinating talk by Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist situated within one of the most prestigious business schools in the world whose research focuses on morality and emotion. I can’t help but be impressed when someone addressing business concerns leads with biology, and Haidt does a good job of summarizing the “disruptive cooperation” (read: competitively-superior Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Competition, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Film, Television, & Video, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Parasitism, Religion, Social Norms

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

Carrying capacity — but not growth rate — varies with habitat quality (at least for moose)

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

Ecosphere “Characterizing demographic parameters across environmental gradients: a case study with Ontario moose (Alces alces)” What I find interesting about this study — besides its unprecedented investigation of something that would seem pretty critical to basic conservation efforts — is what was and was not intuitive in its findings. Moose have higher carrying capacities where Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Carrying Capacity, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecological Modeling, Habitat Destruction, Intrinsic Growth Rate, Parasitism, Population Growth, Sustainable Harvesting

Zoonosis, Ebola, and the Elusive Reservoir Host

Posted 24 Jun 2015 / 0

There’s a really interesting article in the upcoming (July 2015) issue of National Geographic entitled “Stalking a Killer“. Using the most recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa as a case study, the article looks at the nature of a variety of unusual and rare diseases caused by filoviruses. Ebola is not a virus that Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Belief, Cultural Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Parasitism, Predation

Evolution 2014: Day 2

Posted 22 Jun 2014 / 0

About five years ago I developed my Evolution course, which is aimed at my non-majors art and design students. I have not taught this course in more than two years, and as it has sat on the shelf I have been able to get that critical distance necessary to make the course better. So coming Read More

A Major Post, Assessment Methods, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Cooperative Breeding, EvoDevo, Evolution Education, Higher Education, Mutualism, Niche Partitioning, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution

Evolution 2014: Day 1

Posted 21 Jun 2014 / 0

My first session of the day was spent entirely in a Symbiosis session. I am fascinated by symbiosis, particularly mutualistic symbiosis, so I am always looking for cool new stories to help illustrate the concept for my students. This session featured a lot of talks on microbial symbionts, which are also of interest to me. The Read More

A Major Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Film & Video, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mating systems, Microbial Ecology, Mutualism, Parasitism, Phylogenetics, Predation, Science in Art & Design, Sexual Selection, Society for the Study of Evolution

Evolution 2014: Could the right symbionts provide protection from chytrid infection to amphibians?

Posted 21 Jun 2014 / 0

Patrick McLaughlin showed work on Bioko Island suggesting that frogs there may be protected from the ill effects of chytrid infection by the presence of bacterial symbionts. These symbionts produce metabolites that lower rates of parasitic infection, suggesting that symbionts might be used to protect amphibian populations worldwide. It also suggests a mechanism by which Read More

A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Invasive Species, Mutualism, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution

Evolution 2014: Is thyme a facultative mutualist with leguminous plants?

Posted 21 Jun 2014 / 0

Mary McKenna of Howard University presented work that suggested that thyme plants may be facultative mutualists when associated with various legume species. In work done at the Blandy Experimental Farm, her students have demonstrated that legumes growing in the presence of thyme plants form more root nodules in association with their nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbionts. This effect occurs Read More

A Minor Post, Competition, Conferences, Mutualism, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution