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

Court Ruling in the Netherlands may point the way to cracking the climate compliance conundrum

Posted 24 Jun 2015 / 0

BBC News “Climate change: Is the Dutch court ruling ‘a game changer’?” Nature Breaking News “Landmark court ruling tells Dutch government to do more on climate change” The New York Times “Landmark Dutch Ruling: Cut Emissions to Protect Citizens” The Guardian “Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling” There is so much Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Law, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Sustainability

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

A niche with the masses?

Posted 22 Jun 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “You Want to Write for a Popular Audience? Really?” Sometimes I feel bummed out that I do not occupy a seat in a ‘normal’ academic department. But when I read about or encounter the attitudes that pervade these ‘normal’ places, I am really happy to have the freedom associated with Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Drones versus Breeders, Higher Education, The WmD Project

New article in Science provides a comprehensive overview and update on Yellowstone National Park

Posted 24 Apr 2015 / 0

Since I began teaching Ecology at Pratt, I have used the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone as the cornerstone case study of my community ecology lessons. Using material originally developed by my colleague Damon Chaky for the Ecology for Architects course, I ask my students to use ecological theory to explain some of the changes that Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Interactions, Keystone Species, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Predation, Public Policy

E&E in A&D: Genetic profiling as art?

Posted 13 Feb 2015 / 0

Smithsonian Magazine “Creepy or Cool? Portraits Derived From the DNA in Hair and Gum Found in Public Places” I find a lot of art to be gimmicky. I know as a professor at an art and design school, that could get me into some trouble, so let me explain what I mean. “Gimmicky” art to Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Computer Science, Ethics, Genetics, Human Evolution, Risk & Uncertainty, Science in Art & Design, Sociology

When Facebook performs a manipulative experiment on its users, the results are interesting, the methods disturbing

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

Did you know that Facebook performs scientific research? If I told you that Facebook is constantly analyzing the activity of its users, that would probably not surprise you. But does Facebook go the next step by performing manipulative experiments on its users? A recent publication in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Consciousness, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Experiments (General), Happiness, Law, Methods, Psychological Adaptation, Sociology, Web

A nice synopsis of some reasons for laughter

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What’s So Funny?” I appreciate the different theories of laughter presented here and the way that they are connected to adaptive behavior and ultimately to evolution. Like a lot of other behaviors that I am interested in — most prominently music production and play — laughter is one of those Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Communication, Emotion, Human Uniqueness, Play, Web

Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 1

Proponents of kin selection as the most parsimonious explanation of how cooperation evolves face a problem when it comes to humans: counter to the predictions of kin selection theory, humans aim a fair amount of altruism at non-kin. While we do not aim our helping behaviors solely at our relatives, we also do not randomly Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Genetics, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Sociology

Do cancer cells play cooperate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 0

PLoS One “Prisoner’s Dilemma in Cancer Metabolism” What is interesting here is that cancer cells must cooperate with each other in order to out-compete somatic cells against a staggering cost-to-benefit ratio. Generated by the extreme inefficiency of anaerobic metabolism, this ratio presents a supreme challenge to a developing tumor, which might be one factor explaining Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Game Theory, Health & Medicine, Quantifying Costs and Benefits