Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2016)

Posted 10 May 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

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

Is family-linked terrorism a cultural and genetic phenomenon?

Posted 03 Dec 2015 / 0

National Public Radio “In Worst Attacks, Terrorists Often Have Fraternal Bonds” This is an interesting — albeit brief — piece on a recent “pattern” that has emerged in terror attacks: teams of attackers are often composed of blood relatives. As a good scientist I have to point out that there’s a danger here of over-generalizing Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Data Limitation, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Human Evolution, Memetic Fitness, Mismatch theory, Phenotypic Plasticity, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Social Diversity

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

EcoMotion studios celebrates Robert Paine’s Pisaster experiments

Posted 06 Oct 2015 / 0

Back at the Evolution 2014 meeting I encountered the great “Drift” animated short, which I still use in my evolution course. Well the producers of that short have formed ECOmotion Studios, and they have made a bunch more videos in honor of the Ecological Society of America‘s centennial. This one is a fun “spoken word” jam Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Competition, Ecological Society of America, Ecology Education, Film & Video, Film, Television, & Video, Intertidal Zones, Keystone Species, Methods, Predation, Science in Art & Design

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

Urban Wildlife Podcast on Cats and Coyotes

Posted 20 Sep 2015 / 0

Urban Wildlife Podcast “Episode 4: Cats and Coyotes” What I really enjoyed about this particular episode of the Urban Wildlife Podcast was the interaction between topics covered. The effects of both cats and coyotes are still largely unknown, even as both animals are fairly common in urban areas. Domesticated cats are pretty easy to track Read More

A Minor Post, Animal Domestication, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Birds, Canids, Coevolution, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Felids, Habitat Fragmentation, Methods, Predation, Radio & Podcasts, Temperate Forest, Tracking, Urban Ecology

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

Urban Wildlife Podcast on big animals in big cities

Posted 27 Jul 2015 / 0

Urban Wildlife Podcast “Bangkok Pythons and Gotham Whales” This is a really interesting podcast that focuses on the wildlife of cities. This episode is about huge animals that manage to live in close proximity to cities, specifically in their waterways. The section on reticulated pythons — which can grow up to 23-25 feet long — Read More

A Minor Post, Cetaceans, Coevolution, Commensalism, Conservation Biology, Public Outreach, Radio & Podcasts, Reptiles, Urban Ecology