Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

BK BioReactor visualizes Gowanus Canal microbial communities

Posted 23 Sep 2017 / 0

Gowanus Canal images courtesy All-Nite Images via Wikimedia Commons My colleague Romie Littrell referred me to a really interesting project of the BK BioReactor group that visualizes microbial community diversity in the Gowanus Canal: For those who are not familiar with the Gowanus Canal, an historically-important Brooklyn shipping lane that is now a Superfund Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biology (general), Bogs & Wetlands, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, DNA Barcoding, Ecological Restoration, Educational Software and Apps, Experiments (General), Freshwater Ecosystems, Genetics, Geography, Information Design, Intertidal Zones, Microbial Ecology, Web

Clever study shows how cooperative bacteria sanction — and therefore exclude — cheaters

Posted 08 Jan 2016 / 0

ScienceDaily “Cooperating bacteria isolate cheaters” This kind of study is where the field exploring how cooperation evolves should be headed: model predictions are verified by actual microbial microcosms, but the interactions of those microcosms are manipulated by genetically-engineering variation in behavior (what this article calls “synthetic ecology”). This approach helps overcome a common problem faced Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Competition, Cooperation, Methods, Microbial Ecology, Partner Choice, Reciprocity, Web

Rule number one of cooperative bacterial warfare? Be in the majority.

Posted 25 Aug 2015 / 0

Current Biology “Positively Frequency-Dependent Interference Competition Maintains Diversity and Pervades a Natural Population of Cooperative Microbes” This is another great example of how theory that does not consider space is a poor representation of nature. Here, the diversity of a soil bacterium (Myxococcus xanthus) is shown to be potentially explained by positive frequency-dependent selection, the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Competition, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Evolutionary Modeling, Kin Selection, Microbial Ecology, Soil Ecology

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

Microbes may surf their way to successful cooperation

Posted 10 Oct 2013 / 0

Wired “On the Microbial Frontier, Cheaters Rarely Prosper” This is fascinating, particularly because it attempts to connect the ability of bacteria to sustain cooperation through range expansion with the unique range expansion undertaken by humans in the last 30,000 years. I am not sure this will be a fruitful comparison, but you have to give it Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Microbial Ecology, Web

Bacterial societies defy selfish gene predictions

Posted 10 Sep 2012 / 0

MITnews “Weapon-wielding marine microbes may protect populations from foes“

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Altruism, Competition, Cooperation, Evolution, Microbial Ecology, Mutualism, Superorganisms, Web

National Geographic goes looking for heat-loving bacteria in a very cold place

Posted 26 Jun 2012 / 0

National Geographic “Life in an Icy Inferno” This is an interesting article from the “great extents to which scientists go to do their work” perspective, but disappointingly it was not all that clear in this article what the purpose of finding thermophilic bacteria in Antarctica might be. I suppose that plenty of NatGeo expeditions can Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Microbial Ecology

There’s Dirt Under Them Thar Sidewalks

Posted 30 Sep 2011 / 0

Sometimes I think that it is all too easy in New York City to forget one’s connection to natural systems: we have seemingly domesticated everything. Sewer systems replace rivers and streams, trees are methodically planted in evenly-spaced holes in the sidewalk, and every other surface is covered in asphalt and concrete. And yet when this Read More

Microbial Ecology, Soil Ecology, Urban Ecology