Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

New report on drug resistance highlights the tragedy of our antibiotics commons

Posted 02 Oct 2015 / 0

National Geographic Germination blog “Antibiotic Resistance Getting Worse Globally, But Fixes Could Be Simple” Antibiotic resistance is an interesting problem because it highlights how individual decisions drive international-scale dynamics and then come right back to impact individuals. Unlike other big international tragedies of the commons such as climate change or fisheries collapse, the effects of Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Social Norms, Web

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

Our culture is special, but not especially uncommon

Posted 08 Sep 2015 / 0

National Geographic News “Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture” It is interesting how the number of animal species displaying culture keeps getting larger. There’s a lot of evolutionary convergence involved here, as the phylogenetic tree of vertebrates is still only sprinkled with pockets of culture. But those pockets of culture are deep, and therefore Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cetaceans, Communication, Convergence, Cultural Evolution, Exaptation, Human Uniqueness, Web

WmD Episode #00003 has been released

Posted 20 Aug 2015 / 0

The WmD Project is picking up steam!  This week I have released the third 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“. This episode, “Difference is as difference does”, is meant to cover these questions: Why do Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Marine Ecosystems, Niche Partitioning, Temperate Forest, The WmD Project, Urban Ecology

Explaining the evolutionary explanation for handedness

Posted 13 Aug 2015 / 0

This is a wonderful little video that is absolutely packed with great ideas about how evolution works, how human evolution works, and how two different evolutionary pressures pushing in opposite directions reach equilibrium. It also makes wonderful use of infographic techniques, using color and quantity throughout the video to clearly convey numerical and conceptual ideas Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Educational Software and Apps, Evolutionary Modeling, Film, Television, & Video, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Social Norms

So much for the big-brained city bird theory?

Posted 05 Aug 2015 / 0

BMC Ecology “Commonness and ecology, but not bigger brains, predict urban living in birds” What makes this study smart is that it compares the birds that live successfully in urban areas with the birds that actually have the potential to colonize cities. This makes for a much more meaningful comparison than simply comparing urban species Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Birds, Brain size, Coevolution, Cognitive Ability, Commensalism, Conservation Biology, Habitat Destruction, Resilience, Urban Ecology

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

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

Our paper on a super-rational solution to the tragedy of the commons published in Scientific Reports

Posted 14 Jan 2015 / 0

I am very pleased to announce that a paper that I worked on with collaborators Jun-Zhou He, Rui-Wu Wang, and Yao-Tang Li has been published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. The paper, entitled “Asymmetric interaction paired with a super-rational strategy might resolve the tragedy of the commons without requiring recognition or negotiation“, considers how Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Coevolution, Cooperation, Game Theory, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Phenotypic Plasticity