One of the most basic questions in evolutionary ecology is, "why are there more kinds of this kind of critter than that kind of critter?" As in, why are there more than twenty thousand species of orchids, but only one species of ginkgo? Why are there hundreds of thousands of species of beetles, but only four species of horseshoe crab? In a literature review just released online—and my first publication as lead author!—my coauthors and I assess the support for one hypothesis: that species mul........ Read more »
Alfaro, M., Santini, F., Brock, C., Alamillo, H., Dornburg, A., Rabosky, D., Carnevale, G., & Harmon, L. (2009) Nine exceptional radiations plus high turnover explain species diversity in jawed vertebrates. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 106(32), 13410-4. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811087106
Bolnick, D. (2001) Intraspecific competition favours niche width expansion in Drosophila melanogaster. Nature, 410(6827), 463-6. DOI: 10.1038/35068555
Blumenthal, D., Mitchell, C., Pysek, P., & Jarosik, V. (2009) Synergy between pathogen release and resource availability in plant invasion. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 106(19), 7899-904. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812607106
Grant, B., & Grant, P. (1989) Natural selection in a population of Darwin's finches. The American Naturalist, 133(3), 377-93. DOI: 10.1086/284924
Kassen, R. (2009) Toward a general theory of adaptive radiation: Insights from microbial experimental evolution. Annals New York Acad. Sci., 1168(1), 3-22. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04574.x
Losos, J. (1990) Ecomorphology, performance capability, and scaling of West Indian Anolis lizards: An evolutionary analysis. Ecological Monographs, 60(3), 369-88. DOI: 10.2307/1943062
Svanbäck, R., & Bolnick, D. (2007) Intraspecific competition drives increased resource use diversity within a natural population. Proc. Royal Soc. B, 274(1611), 839-44. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0198
Wheat, C., Vogel, H., Wittstock, U., Braby, M., Underwood, D., & Mitchell-Olds, T. (2007) The genetic basis of a plant insect coevolutionary key innovation. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 104(51), 20427-31. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0706229104
Yoder, J.B., Des Roches, S., Eastman, J.M., Gentry, L., Godsoe, W.K.W., Hagey, T., Jochimsen, D., Oswald, B.P., Robertson, J., Sarver, B.A.J.... (2010) Ecological opportunity and the origin of adaptive radiations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02029.x
On December 23, 1924, the Australian anatomist Raymond Dart chipped away the last bit of rock encasing the skull of a small fossil primate. The specimen had been part of a collection of fossil scraps sent to him from a limestone quarry in Taung, South Africa - not too far from where he was teaching [...]... Read more »
DART, R. (1925) Australopithecus africanus: The Man-Ape of South Africa. Nature, 115(2884), 195-199. DOI: 10.1038/115195a0
WILLIAMS, F., & PATTERSON, J. (2010) RECONSTRUCTING THE PALEOECOLOGY OF TAUNG, SOUTH AFRICA FROM LOW MAGNIFICATION OF DENTAL MICROWEAR FEATURES IN FOSSIL PRIMATES. PALAIOS, 25(7), 439-448. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2009.p09-116r
Berger, L. (1995) Eagle involvement in accumulation of the Taung child fauna. Journal of Human Evolution, 29(3), 275-299. DOI: 10.1006/jhev.1995.1060
I read a lovely paper last night that took to task the findings of an older paper by one of my closest collaborators. I think both papers are very strong papers and I would love to discuss my thoughts on the issue here, but I feel as though the topic might be a little too [...]... Read more »
Codd, J. (2010) Uncinate processes in birds: Morphology, physiology and function☆. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular , 156(3), 303-308. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.12.005
If ever there was a time to be careful about who you were going to mate with, it would probably be when there was a good chance you were going to die in the attempt.
And we’re not talking about some sort of heroic situation where the male has to endure hardships to get to the female. We’re talking about situations where the female herself is the threat.
“Fair princess, I have arrived to...”
CHOMP. Nom nom nom.
A lot has been written about the cannibalistic tendencies of praying manti........ Read more »
Barry KL. (2010) Influence of female nutritional status on mating dynamics in a sexually cannibalistic praying mantid. Animal Behaviour. info:/10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.05.024
It's been a pretty long stressful week around here, and not just because of Pepsipocalypse and the resulting fallout. But, well, I'm back, and I have an awesome paper to tell you about. When I saw it I just KNEW it had to be blogged.
Mythbuster Adam Savage sets the yawning in motion in Mythbusters attempts to start a yawning epidemic across the globe
Did watching that video make you yawn? Chances are it did, and you can thank contagious yawning for it. What is contagious yawning? Contagious y........ Read more »
Remember Notodendrodes and the spicule tree? Don't they look so much like harmless trees sitting around sunbathing like their plant counterparts? Not all tree forams are harmless. The microscopic marine world is full of surprises, like trees waving around their long sticky network 'feet' to trap and devour any traveler that happens by. Here's some wonderful shots of Notodendrodes caught in the act:The top left image shows a clump of Artemia caught by Notodendrodes, a big carnivorous tree foram. ........ Read more »
Suhr, S., Alexander, S., Gooday, A., Pond, D., & Bowser, S. (2008) Trophic modes of large Antarctic Foraminifera: roles of carnivory, omnivory, and detritivory. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 155-164. DOI: 10.3354/meps07693
New research suggests that (some of) the secrets to honey’s anti-bacterial properties may have been revealed.
A Dutch team of microbiologists propose that the anti-bacterial properties of the honey they tested come down to four chemicals and one general property:
Sugars High concentrations of sugars have long been known to have anti-bacterial properties and are used in preserving food.
The [...]... Read more »
Xu, P., Shi, M., & Chen, X. (2009) Antimicrobial Peptide Evolution in the Asiatic Honey Bee Apis cerana. PLoS ONE, 4(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004239
Adams, C., Manley-Harris, M., & Molan, P. (2009) The origin of methylglyoxal in New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey. Carbohydrate Research, 344(8), 1050-1053. DOI: 10.1016/j.carres.2009.03.020
Forget snakes on a plane, this was snakes in a brain scanner! To chart the neural activity associated with overcoming fear, Uri Nili and colleagues scanned snake-phobic participants' brains while they chose, with the press of a button, whether or not to bring a live, 1.5M long corn snake, located on a conveyer belt in the scanner room, nearer to their heads, or to shift it further away (watch video). A control condition replaced the snake with a teddy bear.
The subgenual anterior cingulate cor........ Read more »
Nili, U., Goldberg, H., Weizman, A., & Dudai, Y. (2010) Fear Thou Not: Activity of Frontal and Temporal Circuits in Moments of Real-Life Courage. Neuron, 66(6), 949-962. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.06.009
Here in Australia we have a national ‘youth’ radio station called Triple J, and on sunday nights they play a guy called John Safran – he’s a species of celebrity with a huge polarizing effect. It’s easy to see why, he’s over-cynical, opinionated and specializing in only a few key topics. I quite like him, [...]... Read more »
Peluchette, J., & Karl, K. (2007) The impact of workplace attire on employee self-perceptions. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18(3), 345-360. DOI: 10.1002/hrdq.1208
Hannover, B., & Kuhnen, U. (2002) "The Clothing Makes the Self" Via Knowledge Activation1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(12), 2513-2525. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb02754.x
How long does it *really* take water to move through a watershed? Continue reading →... Read more »
McDonnell, J., McGuire, K., Aggarwal, P., Beven, K., Biondi, D., Destouni, G., Dunn, S., James, A., Kirchner, J., Kraft, P.... (2010) How old is streamwater? Open questions in catchment transit time conceptualization, modelling and analysis. Hydrological Processes, 24(12), 1745-1754. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7796
Kirchner, J., Tetzlaff, D., & Soulsby, C. (2010) Comparing chloride and water isotopes as hydrological tracers in two Scottish catchments. Hydrological Processes, 24(12), 1631-1645. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7676
Stewart, M., Morgenstern, U., & McDonnell, J. (2010) Truncation of stream residence time: how the use of stable isotopes has skewed our concept of streamwater age and origin. Hydrological Processes, 24(12), 1646-1659. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7576
As you probably may well know, your lipid profile is of importance for cardiovascular disease. Especially a high cholesterol level is considered to be a risk factor for coronary artery disease. The efficacy of cocoa in reducing blood pressure and other positive effects on cardiovascular risk factors have been discussed on this blog for some [...]
Related posts:A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
How Much Chocolate is good for your Health?
Have Your Dark Chocolate with Green Tea
... Read more »
Lei Jia,, Xuan Liu,, Yong Yi Bai,, Shao Hua Li,, Kai Sun, Chen He,, & Rutai Hui. (2010) Short-term effect of cocoa product consumption on lipid profile: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. info:/
When we talk about social networking or contagion effect, we are usually referring to getting good words out about us so that we can engender good will and gain additional customers. In other words, we often focus on positive behavior in the context of social networks. But just as positive behavior can be fostered through [...]... Read more »
Irit Nitzan and Barak Libai. (2010) Social Effects on Customer Retention. Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series 2010. info:other/10-107
Sci has recently did a post on p53. She finds it to be a fascinating little guy, and it might just become her new obsession. It appears to be everywhere, the little protein behind the scenes making things happen. (Awww, look at it, all hugging the DNA like that. What a cutie!) And one of [...]... Read more »
Feng, Z., Hu, W., Teresky, A., Hernando, E., Cordon-Cardo, C., & Levine, A. (2007) Declining p53 function in the aging process: A possible mechanism for the increased tumor incidence in older populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(42), 16633-16638. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708043104
The process of gene expression, in which a gene is used as a blueprint to construct a protein, is anything but static. Levels of gene expression for individual genes rise and fall with environmental circumstances, health, injury, and over the course of aging. It's a tremendously complex system, with a lot of feedback loops and switches, but fortunately the cost of analyzing gene expression profiles over a whole genome is falling rapidly. It is now feasible to run hundreds of such profiles over t........ Read more »
Sarup P, Sørensen P, & Loeschcke V. (2010) Flies selected for longevity retain a young gene expression profile. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands). PMID: 20607427
What have people been talking about this week in high energy physics, astrophysics, gravitation, general relativity and quantum gravity?... Read more »
Pakull, M., Soria, R., & Motch, C. (2010) A 300-parsec-long jet-inflated bubble around a powerful microquasar in the galaxy NGC 7793. Nature, 466(7303), 209-212. DOI: 10.1038/nature09168
Pohl, R., Antognini, A., Nez, F., Amaro, F., Biraben, F., Cardoso, J., Covita, D., Dax, A., Dhawan, S., Fernandes, L.... (2010) The size of the proton. Nature, 466(7303), 213-216. DOI: 10.1038/nature09250
There's a little corner of your brain - the anterior cingulate cortex - that's thought to play a role in monitoring errors. The electrical signals that flow from this part of the brain ramp up when the mind is challenged with conflicting information, an effect called 'error response negativity', or ERN. In short, ERN represents that anxious, uneasy feeling you sometimes get when you've made a mistake.
Back in 2009 Michael Inzlicht, at the University of Toronto in Canada, found that religious pe........ Read more »
Michael Inzlicht, & Alexa M. Tullett. (2010) Reflecting on God: Religious Primes Can Reduce Neurophysiological Response to Errors. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797610375451
Francis Nano (University of Victoria, Canada) and coworkers have developed a live bacterial vaccine that is nevertheless safe and effective for dangerous pathogens, with the aid of temperature-sensitive genetic modifications. This news feature was written on July 13, 2010.... Read more »
Duplantis, B. N., Osusky, M., Schmerk, C. L., Ross, D. R., Bosio, C. M., & Nano, F. E. (2010) Essential genes from Arctic bacteria used to construct stable, temperature-sensitive bacterial vaccines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004119107
Blackburn, J., Mitchell, M., Blackburn, M., Curtis, A., & Thompson, B. (2010). Evidence of Antibiotic Resistance in Free-Swimming, Top-Level Marine Predatory Fishes Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 41 (1), 7-16 DOI: 10.1638/2007-0061.1
This week’s installment of ‘Are Headlines Hogwash’ brings us to an article from Discovery News this past June. Here’s the headline:
ANTIBIOTICS BREEDING ‘SUPER [...]... Read more »
Blackburn, J., Mitchell, M., Blackburn, M., Curtis, A., & Thompson, B. (2010) Evidence of Antibiotic Resistance in Free-Swimming, Top-Level Marine Predatory Fishes. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 41(1), 7-16. DOI: 10.1638/2007-0061.1
Pharmacotherapy effectiveness for the treatment of obesity has been disappointing. Currently available agents tend to have significant adverse effects (i.e. dependency issues for appetite suppressants) or limited weight loss potential (i.e. orlistat). Drug development has also been slowed by fallout from the link of the combination drug phentermine-fenfluramine (Phen-Fen). This combination was linked to serious heart complications including valvular heart disease.Currently available agents in........ Read more »
No, MR-CoNS isn't some kind of crazy new conservative, it stands for methicillin resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci. CoNS are relatives of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (the 'SA' in MRSA), and are common human commensals--they typically live on us and in us without causing disease.
One of the important things, from a health perspective, about CoNS is that many are resistant to methicillin (methicillin resistance is the "MR" in MRSA). In fact, the resistance mechanism, know........ Read more »
Barbier, F., Ruppé, E., Hernandez, D., Lebeaux, D., Francois, P., Felix, B., Desprez, A., Maiga, A., Woerther, P., Gaillard, K.... (2010) Methicillin‐Resistant Coagulase‐Negative Staphylococci in the Community: High Homology of SCCmec IVa between and Major Clones of Methicillin‐Resistant . The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 202(2), 270-281. DOI: 10.1086/653483
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