Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Lev Ginzburg Fest: celebration of a “retirement”

Posted 17 Dec 2015 / 0

“Lev Ginzburg has retired”. For anyone who knows Lev, this combination of words does not make a whole lot of sense. Is it possible that such a lively and active scientist would hang up his yellow pad and pencil in order to put his feet up in some retirement community far away from the world Read More

A Major Post, Allometries, Biography, Carrying Capacity, Conferences, Conservation Biology, Ecological Modeling, Ecology, Evolutionary Modeling, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Science as a career, System Stability, Talks & Seminars

The problem with same sex attraction “for the good of the species”

Posted 16 Nov 2015 / 0

arXiv “Toy model for the adaptive origins of the sexual orientation continuum” This is an interesting idea that definitely bears further exploration, but by my reading of the math, the tradeoff here (what’s good for the species in having trait diversity versus what’s good for an individual in achieving reproductive success) is expressed purely in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolutionary Modeling, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction

Major masts made by multiplicative modification

Posted 22 Oct 2015 / 0

Ecology Letters “Extended flowering intervals of bamboos evolved by discrete multiplication” This is a great example of how theory can be used to explain patterns in nature by matching patterns in nature. Masting is a group-level evolved phenomenon: producing seeds in abundance during a single year where every other plant of your species is doing Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Multilevel Selection, Predation

Group phenotypic composition: implications for individuals and their groups

Posted 22 Oct 2015 / 0

Trends in Ecology & Evolution “From Individuals to Groups and Back: The Evolutionary Implications of Group Phenotypic Composition” Man, I wish that this article was written in a more accessible manner, because what it presents is important. There is a critical feedback between how the composition of groups affects individuals and how individuals affect the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolutionary Modeling, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phenotypic Plasticity, Population Genetics, Social Diversity

Like-with-like assortment plus exponential fitness increases cooperation, even under weak selection

Posted 06 Oct 2015 / 0

arXiv “Assortment and the evolution of cooperation in a Moran process with exponential fitness” I am still struggling to understand when it would be appropriate to assume an exponential (rather than linear) fitness function. It is wonderful that these modelers are mapping out all these different conditions under which cooperation evolves, but how to select Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory

Formation of the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution has the potential to catalyze research into how culture evolves

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

I was excited to recently discover that The Evolution Institute, a “think-tank that doesn’t just think” about how to apply evolutionary understanding to human problems, is working to foster a new professional society dedicated to the study of cultural evolution. Dubbed the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution (SSCE), this emerging society endeavors to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Archaeology, Behavior, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Environmental Justice, Evolutionary Modeling, Political Science, Professional Societies, Psychology, Public Outreach, Public Policy, Religion, Social Science, Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Sociology

Rule number one of cooperative bacterial warfare? Be in the majority.

Posted 25 Aug 2015 / 0

Current Biology “Positively Frequency-Dependent Interference Competition Maintains Diversity and Pervades a Natural Population of Cooperative Microbes” This is another great example of how theory that does not consider space is a poor representation of nature. Here, the diversity of a soil bacterium (Myxococcus xanthus) is shown to be potentially explained by positive frequency-dependent selection, the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Competition, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Evolutionary Modeling, Kin Selection, Microbial Ecology, Soil 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

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

Evolution 2014: Day 0

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 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 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