This website is currently undergoing live development!
Christopher X J. Jensen
Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute

Evolution 2014: Day 1

Posted on 21 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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

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

Posted on 21 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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 might be used to protect amphibian populations worldwide. It also suggests a mechanism by which […]

Read more A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Invasive Species, Mutualism, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution

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

Posted on 21 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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 more generalist species). Theoretically it is understood that the nested communities are more stable, so […]

Read more A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Mutualism, Mutualistic Networks, Society for the Study of Evolution

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

Posted on 21 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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 have unique trajectories as infants are colonized by symbiotic bacteria of different types.

Read more A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Mutualism, Primates, Society for the Study of Evolution

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

Posted on 21 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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 is that the bacteria don’t directly confer resistance to the parasitoid: instead, it is the […]

Read more A Minor Post, Coevolution, Conferences, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution

Evolution 2014: Day 0

Posted on 20 Jun 2014 / Leave a Comment

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 attend the Experiencing Evolution workshop. Here’s what this session promised: Evolution is a key biological concept, […]

Read more 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