Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Evolution beyond adaptation: a critical step for evolutionary theory

Posted 04 Jul 2015 / 0

The July 2015 issue of Trends in Ecology & Evolution features a really important review article entitled “Selection on stability across ecological scales“. The paper embraces the idea that the stability properties of ecological systems dictate the configuration of extant social groups, interacting species pairs, and overall ecological communities. Lev Ginzburg, my Ph.D. advisor, has Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Articles, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Ecosystem Ecology, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Macroevolution, Multilevel Selection, Predation, System Stability

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

WmD Episode #00001 has been released!

Posted 17 Jun 2015 / 0

After a long period of planning and shooting and having to shoot again and editing and shooting some more, I finally have released the first episode of WmD’s video blog: You can see this episode in its ‘native habitat’ here. The first season of WmD is dedicated to the “big questions in ecology and evolution“. Read More

A Major Post, Evolution, The WmD Project

Can we resolve the ‘group selection debate’ by focusing on human cooperation?

Posted 12 Jun 2015 / 13

ASEBL Journal “Morality and Selection – How?” This is an interesting article that tries to frame the debate over multilevel selection. Lots of other people have tried to similarly frame this debate, and I am pretty sure that no single prescription is going to resolve the debate. There is a debate about whether we need Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Group Selection, Methods, Multilevel Selection, Social Norms, Web

Sabbatical, Sweet Sabbatical

Posted 04 Jun 2015 / 0

It is early June and I am just beginning to settle in to what will be my longest period of unstructured work time since I left graduate school. In the Spring of 2014 I received tenure and in the Fall of 2014 I applied for my first sabbatical. In the coming semester — Fall 2015 Read More

A Major Post, Cultural Evolution, Drones versus Breeders, Higher Education, Pratt Institute, Teaching, The WmD Project

Is the threat of regulation enough to incentivize cooperation from nitrogen polluters?

Posted 01 Jun 2015 / 0

National Public Radio All Things Considered “It’s Raining Nitrogen In A Colorado Park. Farmers Can Help Make It Stop” What I find interesting about this example is how the local nature of this problem creates greater incentives for “voluntary” measures taken by polluters to reduce the impacts of their polluting activities. Because the effects of Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Environmental Justice, Eutrophication, Political Science, Pollution, Public Policy, Punishment, Reputation, Social Norms

In the end, climate compromise comes down to writing and editing

Posted 01 Jun 2015 / 0

National Public Radio Morning Edition “Editing The Climate Talkers: Punctuation’s Effect On Earth’s Fate” I would suggest that the future of human civilization depends on reaching an international agreement to put a halt to — and partially reverse — anthropogenic climate change. Although the history of climate change agreements is pretty fraught, it does appear Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Cooperation, Law, Political Science, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Social Norms, Survival, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy

The costly nature of wind pollination

Posted 05 May 2015 / 2

It is once again that time of year, the time when trees that rely on wind pollination dump a really absurd amount of pollen into the air. The surfaces of outdoor objects become covered in a layer of yellow dust that is shockingly visible to the naked eye. When it rains, run-off nearly glows yellow Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Divergence, Pollination

How stupid professorial attitudes towards Wikipedia are making students less savvy

Posted 03 Mar 2015 / 0

Recently I have come to realize that (too) many professors have a profound disdain for Wikipedia. Although I sometimes encounter this disdain directly, most of the time I see contempt for Wikipedia reflected through my students. These stupid professorial attitudes about Wikipedia tend to cast a pretty unflattering reflection off of their students. It is Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Information Literacy, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Norms, Teaching

PCB Bioaccumulation and Polar Bear Penises

Posted 20 Feb 2015 / 0

National Geographic News “Is Pollution Weakening Polar Bears’ Ability to Mate?” This sounds like fodder for a late-night television laugh line, but this is a pretty scary example of how bioaccumulation of toxins can have important conservation consequences. From a conservation perspective, there is nothing worse than a ubiquitous pollutant reducing the ability of a Read More

A Minor Post, Pollution, Sex and Reproduction, Web