Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

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

Should altruism have an effect on your final exam score?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “This ‘Extra Credit’ Question Does No Credit to Fairness” This seems like kind of a dumb stunt on the part of the psychology professor who posed it. I never really respected my professors who did not take very seriously the idea that students are pretty amped up by the experience Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Assessment Methods, Ethics, Game Theory, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation

Carrying capacity — but not growth rate — varies with habitat quality (at least for moose)

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

Ecosphere “Characterizing demographic parameters across environmental gradients: a case study with Ontario moose (Alces alces)” What I find interesting about this study — besides its unprecedented investigation of something that would seem pretty critical to basic conservation efforts — is what was and was not intuitive in its findings. Moose have higher carrying capacities where Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Carrying Capacity, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecological Modeling, Habitat Destruction, Intrinsic Growth Rate, Parasitism, Population Growth, Sustainable Harvesting

Go mutualistic or go home?

Posted 15 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Great Extinction” I agree with this article’s overall perspective, which is that it is a bit weird to view humans as unnatural. What we are is unprecedented as a single species that defines a geologic time period (albeit what is likely to be a very short one). I also Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Commensalism, Population Growth, Subsistence, Survival, Sustainability

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

Rivers, Lakes, Seas, and Environmental Justice

Posted 22 Jul 2015 / 0

National Geographic “Sins of the Aral Sea” National Geographic “Last Rites for the Jade Sea?” These recent National Geographic issues both feature articles on threatened bodies of water and the role that over-exploitation of feeder rivers plays in these threats. In both the case of the Aral Sea, which has already been largely ‘disappeared’ by Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Deserts, Environmental Justice, Freshwater Ecosystems, Habitat Destruction, Marine Ecosystems, Water Supply

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