Category Archives: Articles

Cognitive Ethology and Cat Companionship

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Animal Magnetism” I still think that we would be appalled and offended if we could literally read the inner emotional dialogue of a cat, but I have to agree with the main contention of Barash … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Belief, Consciousness, Data Limitation, Divergence, Emotion, Fluidity of Knowledge, Hypothesis Testing, Neuroscience | Tagged , | Leave a comment

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest | Leave a comment

Okay, I admit it: I am a bit of a Neanderthal

The Economist “The genetic contribution Neanderthal man made to modern humanity is clearer” Although this article makes a bigger deal than it should about the “human construct” of the species concept (evolutionists are already well aware of the gradations of isolation … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Evolution, Extinction, Genetics, Homo species, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Phylogenetics, Speciation | 1 Comment

Model evidence that third party punishment only makes sense in tight-knit groups

Proceedings of the Royal Society B “High strength-of-ties and low mobility enable the evolution of third-party punishment“

Posted in A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Evolutionary Modeling, Punishment, Reputation, Social Networks | Leave a comment

Understanding the cascading effect of carnivore loss… before we lose all the carnivores

NPR Morning Edition “When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit” Science “Status and Ecological Effects of the World’s Largest Carnivores” Both of these articles are great for introducing the idea of trophic cascades as well as how trophic … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Ecological Modeling, Keystone Species, Long Term Ecological Research, Predation, Radio & Podcasts | Leave a comment

Once considered clear, the line between ecological and evolutionary time scales is becoming more blurry

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What Darwin Got Wrong” Great article on the importance of better understanding rapid and/or fluctuating evolution! The number of applications to applied human issues is fascinating.

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Climate Change, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Fluidity of Knowledge, Freshwater Ecosystems, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Interactions, Invasive Species, Natural Selection, Pollution, Population Genetics, Predation, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Rivers & Streams | Leave a comment

In bird reproduction, parasitism and cooperation coevolve

Science “How Cooperation Defeats Cheats” Science “Brood Parasitism and the Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Birds” Live Science “How Birds Cooperate to Defeat Cuckoos” It is fascinating that being a cooperative breeder is both attractive to parasites (because they can achieve better … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cooperative Breeding, Phylogenetics | Leave a comment

Curiosity and culturomics

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Erez Aiden Contains Multitudes“

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution | Leave a comment

Are MOOCs just the clunky starting place for a more evolved form of new teaching?

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Innovation in 2014: Welcome to the Evolution“

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching | Leave a comment

Scientific American “Tiny Plants” article provides a primer on the inter-relationship between ecological and evolutionary change

I am always on the lookout for great popular science articles to assign to my students. What makes a popular science article great? Well, to start with it should address concepts that are core to my classes (admittedly, this definition … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Coevolution, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Ecology for Architects, Experiments (General), Extinction, Habitat Destruction, Interactions, Macroevolution, Marine Ecosystems, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pollution, Resilience, Sustainability, Terrestrial | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Would a different term make us better appreciate ecosystem services?

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Who Is Conservation For?” This article takes an interesting turn when it suggests that our inability to appreciate and value ecosystem services stems from… well, the term “ecosystem services”. It is common to blame scientists … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Conservation Biology, Ecosystem Services, Habitat Destruction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Caterpillars weaponize nicotine

The Economist “Caterpillars that blow nicotine at their enemy” I love the combination of genetic manipulation and “arena of death” wolf-spider gauntlet that led to these findings.

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Interactions, Parasitism, Predation, Resistance Evolution in Parasites | Leave a comment

Taking risks for the data

The cover story of November’s National Geographic is about the death of storm chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with two of his collaborators (including one of his sons) during a monster tornado outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Samaras is … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Articles, Genetics, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Play, Risk & Uncertainty | Leave a comment

“Brainchildren” — another way to conceptualize our devotion to cultural fitness

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Bringing up brainchildren” This is such a fun and insightful essay on the relationship between our pursuits that yield — alternatively — genetic and memetic fitness. It effectively captures the wish of the intellectual producer … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness | Leave a comment

Are MOOCs and the arts incompatible?

The Chronicle of Higher Education “MOOCs and the Arts: A Plea for Slow Education” This article makes some great points about what kinds of teaching are and are not compatible with massive, anonymous, separated forms of education: in some fields … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Art & Design, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching, Teaching Tools | Tagged | Leave a comment

Barash the gene accountant on that little economic driver called “reproduction”

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Sex on the Mind” Ugh. How do I decompose this enough? I have always had a fear that David Barash is more pundit than academic, but this column is really scary. There is complete agreement among … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Articles, Evolutionary Psychology, Genetics, Human Evolution, Mating systems, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction | Leave a comment

Does self organization of social networks foster cooperation in the face of cheating?

Web Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2013 “A Study on the Evolution of Cooperation in Networks“

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Game Theory, Social Networks, System Stability | Leave a comment

Microbes may surf their way to successful cooperation

Wired “On the Microbial Frontier, Cheaters Rarely Prosper” This is fascinating, particularly because it attempts to connect the ability of bacteria to sustain cooperation through range expansion with the unique range expansion undertaken by humans in the last 30,000 years. I … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Microbial Ecology, Web | Leave a comment

Open Access publishing and “peer review” fail the test of a well-designed hoax

The Economist “Science’s Sokal Moment” Science “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?” The correct term for the kinds of journals that publish open-access work that is poorly reviewed is “predatory”. Like unaccredited “universities”, they prey on scientists whose work is not … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Economics, Ethics, Periodicals, Publication, Scientific Fraud, Web | Leave a comment

More press for paper that de-bunks the zero determinant superiority

There has been additional coverage of the paper showing that “zero determinant” strategies in the Prisoner’s Dilemma are not evolutionarily robust: Phys.org “Generosity leads to evolutionary success, biologists show” Popular Science “Evolution Punishes Selfish People, Game Theory Study Says” Here’s the … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Game Theory, Modeling (General), System Stability, Web | Leave a comment