Blog

NS – Lisandro Milocco – evolutionary development warps our expectations for the evolution of G matrices and the phenotypes they produce

*Featured image photo credit: Lisandro Milocco

In this episode, Lisandro Milocco (PhD candidate, advised by Dr. Isaac Salazar-Ciudad) shares insights from his new paper, Milocco and Salazar-Ciudad 2022: ‘Evolution of the G matrix under nonlinear genotype-phenotype maps.’ We discuss how Lisandro likes to think about genotype-phenotype maps, how genes control complex developmental processes such as the generation of mammalian teeth, and how the interaction of genes and the developmental processes they control change our expectations for how quantitative phenotypes evolve. Listen to our conversation and then read Lisandro’s full paper here!

Want to develop your understanding even further? Email Lisandro at lisandro.milocco@helsinki.fi.

NATURALIST SELECTIONS IS AN INTERVIEW SERIES PRODUCED BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NATURALISTS GRADUATE COUNCIL. WE SHOWCASE GRADUATE STUDENT AND POSTDOC AUTHORED WORK IN THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, A PREMIER PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL FOR ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCH. CATCH UP ON EXCITING NEW PAPERS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE JOURNAL, AND MEET SOME TRULY BRILLIANT EARLY CAREER NATURALISTS!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Lisandro Milocco, University of Helsinki, Finland

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Lisandro Milocco – evolutionary development warps our expectations for the evolution of G matrices and the phenotypes they produce”

NS – Laura Bizzarri – genetic analyses revise a classic story of sexual selection-driven specialization in tropical hummingbird flower mites

*Featured image photo credit: Laura Bizzarri

In this episode, Laura Bizzarri (PhD candidate, Garcia-Robledo lab) chats with us about her new paper, Bizzarri et al. 2022: ‘DNA Barcoding Reveals Generalization and Host Overlap in Hummingbird Flower Mites: Implications for the Mating Rendezvous Hypothesis.’ We talk about her meticulous fieldwork studying these tiny hummingbirds transporting even tinier flower mites, the ecology that might explain the lack of specialization among mite species, and how the time is ripe to revisit classic hypotheses in our field with modern genetic tools. Listen to our conversation and then read Laura’s full paper here!

Craving more context? Email Laura at laura.bizzarri@uconn.edu.

NATURALIST SELECTIONS IS AN INTERVIEW SERIES PRODUCED BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NATURALISTS GRADUATE COUNCIL. WE SHOWCASE GRADUATE STUDENT AND POSTDOC AUTHORED WORK IN THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, A PREMIER PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL FOR ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCH. CATCH UP ON EXCITING NEW PAPERS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE JOURNAL, AND MEET SOME TRULY BRILLIANT EARLY CAREER NATURALISTS!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Laura Bizzarri, University of Connecticut, US

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Laura Bizzarri – genetic analyses revise a classic story of sexual selection-driven specialization in tropical hummingbird flower mites”

NS – Zach Wood – non-congruence of evolutionary and plastic response to predators in introduced mosquitofish

NATURALIST SELECTIONS IS AN INTERVIEW SERIES PRODUCED BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NATURALISTS GRADUATE COUNCIL. WE SHOWCASE GRADUATE STUDENT AND POSTDOC AUTHORED WORK IN THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, A PREMIER PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL FOR ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCH. CATCH UP ON EXCITING NEW PAPERS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE JOURNAL, AND MEET SOME TRULY BRILLIANT EARLY CAREER NATURALISTS!

*Featured image photo credit: Rebecca Robinson

In this episode, Zach Wood talks with us about his new paper Wood et al. 2022: ‘Drivers and Cascading Ecological Consequences of Gambusia affinis Trait Variation.’ We dive into the weird world of human-created pond ecosystems and how these ponds afford a unique opportunity to study rapid contemporary eco-evolutionary dynamics in predator-prey interactions. We also discuss the challenges of dissecting all the possible causes of trait variation in the wild and explore other ecological and genetic contexts that might affect varying patterns of anti-predator evolution among mosquitofish ponds. Listen to our conversation and then read Zach’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717866.

Craving more context? Email Zach at zachary.t.wood@maine.edu!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Dr. Zach Wood, University of Maine

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Zach Wood – non-congruence of evolutionary and plastic response to predators in introduced mosquitofish”

NS – Claire Teitelbaum – host habitat specialization affects pathogen transmission on the rural-urban landscape continuum

NATURALIST SELECTIONS IS AN INTERVIEW SERIES PRODUCED BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NATURALISTS GRADUATE COUNCIL. WE SHOWCASE GRADUATE STUDENT AND POSTDOC AUTHORED WORK IN THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, A PREMIER PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL FOR ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCH. CATCH UP ON EXCITING NEW PAPERS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE JOURNAL, AND MEET SOME TRULY BRILLIANT EARLY CAREER NATURALISTS!

In this episode, Claire Teitelbaum chats with us about her new paper Teitelbaum et al. 2022: ‘Habitat specialization by urban wildlife reduces pathogen spread in urbanizing landscapes.’ We talk about how to dissect complex patterns in ecological models, and how different kinds of pathogens may spread in urban landscapes, and how Claire’s work can inform conversation efforts in urban spaces. Is habitat specialization always a good strategy to reduce pathogen spread? You can read Claire’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717655.

Infected with curiosity about urban disease ecology? Email Claire at claire.teitelbaum@gmail.com!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Dr. Claire Teitelbaum, Quantitative Ecologist at the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Claire Teitelbaum – host habitat specialization affects pathogen transmission on the rural-urban landscape continuum”

NS – Marshall McMunn – predicted climate change-driven activity shifts in ant species with varying thermal ecologies

NATURALIST SELECTIONS IS AN INTERVIEW SERIES PRODUCED BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NATURALISTS GRADUATE COUNCIL. WE SHOWCASE GRADUATE STUDENT AND POSTDOC AUTHORED WORK IN THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, A PREMIER PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL FOR ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCH. CATCH UP ON EXCITING NEW PAPERS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE JOURNAL, AND MEET SOME TRULY BRILLIANT EARLY CAREER NATURALISTS!

In this episode, Marshall McMunn talks with us about his new paper McMunn and Pepi 2022: ‘Predicted Asymmetrical Effects of Warming on Nocturnal and Diurnal Soil-Dwelling Ectotherms.’ We talk about the science of thermal activity windows and ant refuge-seeking behavior as well as the stories behind the science, including all the twists and turns on the long road to publication. How do you automate capturing thousands of ants in the Sierra Nevada mountains? How do you craft a paper when the results and explanation for your findings are all completely unexpected? Listen to our conversation and then read Marshall’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717431.

Warmed up for more thermal ecology? Email Marshall at msmcmunn@davis.edu!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Dr. Marshall McMunn, University of California Davis

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Marshall McMunn – predicted climate change-driven activity shifts in ant species with varying thermal ecologies”

ECR Spotlight Series: Maria Rebolleda-Gomez

In an effort to showcase and amplify the voices of early career researchers in ecology, evolution, and behavior, we are sharing their stories, in their own words.

Dr. Maria Rebolleda-Gomez

Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine

Tell us a little about your journey as an ECR, from when you decided you wanted to pursue science to your graduate study to your current appointment at UC Irvine? In particular, what first sparked your interest in studying the evolutionary ecology of microbial communities?

In Mexico, you choose the rough equivalent of a major from the start of your college education, and your major shapes all of the classes you will take (if you major in biology, all of your classes are related to biology). I wanted to be a historian, to work in art preservation, to study biology or chemistry. But I think nothing puzzled me more than the origin of life and the evolution of complexity. At the time, I wanted to do molecular biology because I was fascinated by the complexity of the eukaryotic cell. I have moved in multiple directions in biology ever since, but I think those questions are still motivating my research in different ways. I had a few classes in college that shaped my interests and the directions of my career. One of these classes was on prokaryotic biology – learning about all the cool things prokaryotes can do, and all of the environments they can survive in made me fall in love with bacteria!

Continue reading “ECR Spotlight Series: Maria Rebolleda-Gomez”

NS – Bagchi et al. 2022 – behavioral compensation for toxic effects of crowding in flour beetles

Naturalist Selections is an interview series produced by the American Society of Naturalists Graduate Council. We showcase graduate student and postdoc authored work in The American Naturalist, a premier peer-reviewed journal for ecology, evolution, and animal behavior research. Catch up on exciting new papers you may have missed from the journal, and meet some truly brilliant early career naturalists!

In this episode, Basabi Bagchi chats with us about new paper Bagchi et al. 2022: ‘Carcass Scavenging Relaxes Chemical-Driven Female Interference Competition in Flour Beetles.’ We talk about the difficult life of a female flour beetle: toxins, cannibalism, disease, the usual. Clearly, a bag of wheat is not the paradise you think it would be! But all is not lost – it turns out that a female beetle’s behavior can affect not only her own fitness, but also that of her group mates. You can read Basabi’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717250.

Hungry for more beetle talk? Email Basabi at basabi.bagchi_phd17@ashoka.edu.in!

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Basabi Bagchi, Ashoka University, India

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia, US

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia, US

Continue reading “NS – Bagchi et al. 2022 – behavioral compensation for toxic effects of crowding in flour beetles”

NS – Rouvière et al. 2022 – local enhancement behavior: is it really a good foraging strategy?

Naturalist Selections is an interview series produced by the American Society of Naturalists Graduate Council. We showcase graduate student and postdoc authored work in The American Naturalist, a premier peer-reviewed journal for ecology, evolution, and animal behavior research. Catch up on exciting new papers you may have missed from the journal, and meet some truly brilliant early career naturalists!

In this episode, Anna Rouvière talks with us about her new paper Rouvière et al. 2022: ‘The Effects of Local Enhancement on Mean Food Uptake Rate.’ We chat about how you spot locally enhancing behavior in vultures and other creatures, when local enhancement might be a beneficial strategy vs when it might not, how understanding local enhancement behavior can impact species conservation, and more. You can read Anna’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717207.

Still foraging for answers? Email Anna at anna.rouviere@outlook.com.

Anna Rouvière, St. Andrews University graduate, 2021

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Credits

Featured Guest: Anna Rouvière, formerly St. Andrews University, Scotland

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia

Continue reading “NS – Rouvière et al. 2022 – local enhancement behavior: is it really a good foraging strategy?”

Naturalist Selections: Batsleer et al. 2022 – digging into digger wasp burrow patterns

Naturalist Selections is an interview series produced by the American Society of Naturalists Graduate Council. We showcase graduate student and postdoc authored work in The American Naturalist, a premier peer-reviewed journal for ecology, evolution, and animal behavior research. Catch up on exciting new papers you may have missed from the journal, and meet some truly brilliant early career naturalists!

In this episode, Femke Batsleer talks with us about her new paper Batsleer et al. 2022: ‘Behavioral Strategies And The Spatial Pattern Formation Of Nesting.’ We chat about digger wasp behavior, building natural history-grounded models using the inverse modeling approach, studying complex and context dependent behaviors in wild populations, and more. You can read Femke’s full paper here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717226.

Buzzing with more questions? Email Femke at Femke.Batsleer@ugent.be!

Listen to Naturalist Selections on Spotify!

Credits

Featured Guest: Femke Batsleer, University of Ghent

Host, Editor, Producer: Sarah McPeek, University of Virginia

Original Music: Daniel Nondorf, University of Virginia

Continue reading “Naturalist Selections: Batsleer et al. 2022 – digging into digger wasp burrow patterns”

ECR Spotlight Series: Bob Week

In an effort to showcase and amplify the voices of early career researchers in ecology, evolution, and behavior, we are sharing their stories, in their own words.

Dr. Bob Week

Post-doctoral Researcher, Michigan State University

Can you give us the rundown on your ECR journey thus far, from what type of undergraduate institution you went to, to your current position?

My journey into science began at Clark Community College in Vancouver, Washington. I had developed an anxious curiosity for mathematics and electronics, but was undecided about my career path. So I focused on my passions, taking coursework in mathematics, physics and electrical engineering. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes at the community college and the relationships I developed with the faculty. Towards the end of my time at Clark I decided to pursue a bachelors in electrical engineering at the University of Idaho. I chose Idaho for its smaller size (hoping to retain a similar experience to the community college) and because its electrical engineering program was (and I am sure still is) well respected. However, I was caught off-guard by my interests in mathematics and a growing interest in how mathematics can be applied to understand biological pattern formation. At the time the University of Idaho had a program for Undergraduate research in Biology and Mathematics (UBM). I inquired about an open position and the organizer introduced me to Professor Scott Nuismer, a mathematical evolutionary ecologist studying coevolutionary theory. Scott and I really enjoyed working together and I became fascinated by the world of mathematical evolutionary ecology.

Continue reading “ECR Spotlight Series: Bob Week”