Category Archives: Evolution

My Evolution 2014 talk is on YouTube

One nice thing that organizers of the Evolution 2014 conference did was to offer the opportunity for presenters to have their talk recorded and archived. These recorded talks now have their own Evolution 2014 YouTube Channel, and my talk is included in … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Conferences, Cooperation, Easy Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Games Infographics, Game Theory, Information Design, My publications, Science in Art & Design, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching Tools | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Day 2

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 … Continue reading

Posted in 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 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Day 1

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 … Continue reading

Posted in 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 | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

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 … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Invasive Species, Mutualism, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Are island mutualist communities more likely to be nested because they are inherently more unstable?

The interactions in ecological communities can be structured in a variety of ways, and recently there has been a push to categorize these networks along the spectrum between modular (smaller clusters of more specialized interactions) and nested (unclustered networks with … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Mutualism, Mutualistic Networks, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Lemurs display huge diet diversity, and their gut microbes track this diversity

Erin McKenney of Duke University talked about three lemur species with different diets: a frugivore (fruit-eater), a generalist, and a folivore (leaf-eater). Not surprisingly their gut morphologies and passing times vary with their diet, but McKenney showed that they also … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Mutualism, Primates, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

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 … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Day 0

I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core —  a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Assessment Methods, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Genetics, Grants & Funding, Higher Education, Individual-based Models, Lesson Ideas, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Predation, Reproductive Fitness, Science in Art & Design, Sex and Reproduction, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Evolution of cooperation in the high school classroom? You bet!

Will Ratcliff presented an absolutely amazing set of laboratories that explore the evolution of multicellularity (http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/). They can be done with high school or college students, and allow students to see the benefits of cooperation and the action of multilevel … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Cooperative data collection is more meaningful than individual data collection

Julie Noor’s classroom activity in Drosophila breeding points out a really great “best practice” for any data collection in undergraduate laboratory exercises: if you ask students to first interpret only the data they collected, then allow them to interpret the aggregated data … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Conferences, Evolution Education, Lesson Ideas, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Society for the Study of Evolution, Teaching | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Students can watch fly populations evolve in a matter of weeks

Julie Noor of Duke University shows how a very simple classroom experiment in fly breeding to the F3 generation can force students to answer the following question in the affirmative: “Have you ever seen evolution actually occurring?” It is powerful … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Conferences, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evolution 2014: Preview

After landing at Raleigh-Durham airport today I am ready for Evolution 2014! It has been four years since I last attended the annual meeting that brings together members of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB), and the American … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Conferences, Evolution, Society for the Study of Evolution | Tagged | 2 Comments

Hawaiian crickets converge on the same solution to eavesdropping parasites

The New York Times “On Separate Islands, Crickets Go Silent“

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Coevolution, Convergence, Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics | Leave a comment

Cath Dennis publishes non-computerized classroom adaptation of Axelrod’s iPD Tournament

I have corresponded with Cath Dennis of the University of Aberdeen, as we both share an interest in how to bring some of the foundational work exploring cooperation into our classrooms. She has just published one of her classroom activities — … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Reciprocity, Teaching Tools | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Our review paper on Late Pleistocene Extinction Modeling published in QRB!

I am proud to announce that a paper on which I am co-author, “A review and synthesis of late Pleistocene extinction modeling: Progress delayed by mismatches between ecological realism, interpretation, and methodological transparency“, has been published in the June 2014 … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Extinction, Modeling (General), My publications, Predation | Leave a comment

Apparently I should stop holding my breath for the Google Translate “dolphin” module

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Dolphin Talk and Human Credulity” Great short here (and further evidence that TED Talks entice scientists to lose their heads and say unfounded things). Anyone who has carefully watched a child learn to talk comes to realize … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ability, Communication, Human Uniqueness, Language Evolution, Linguistics, Phenotypic Plasticity, Web | Leave a comment

Is “nest parasitism” really “nest mutualism”?

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 … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Behavior, Birds, Coevolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Radio & Podcasts | Leave a comment

0.5% to 3%: Do we now have a better sense of what makes people smart?

The Economist “A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered” A new gene variant, KL-VS, appears to account for up to 3% of variation in IQ score; this would be a radical discovery given that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cognitive Ability, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Intelligences, Web | Tagged | Leave a comment

David Haig suggests that babies cry at night to prevent siblings

Science News “Babies cry at night to prevent siblings, scientist suggests” What’s particularly interesting here is not just the parent-offspring conflict proposed but also the conflict between mothers and fathers that is implied in this theory. In fact, it seems that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Human Evolution, Parent-Offspring Conflict, Sexual Conflict, Web | Leave a comment

There’s No Such Thing as Qualitative Sustainability

Thinking green is just not enough It was one of those classic moments where the irony just seemed too severe to be unplanned. I was riding my bike to work when I passed a parked vehicle and noticed a remarkable … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Architecture, Art & Design, Cultural Evolution, Ecological Footprinting, Green Design, Greenwashing, Life Cycle Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Sustainability | 1 Comment