Open to the public

  • Receiver Biases in Perception and Interpretation of Acoustic Communication Signals

    Thu, May 3, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions an animal can make. The fitness costs and benefits of mate choice have been analyzed extensively in the context of sexual selection, and the neural and hormonal bases of mate choice have provided insights into how animals make such decisions. Less attention, however, has been given to higher-level cognitive processes involved in this decision making. The assumption that animals choose mates predictably and rationally is an important assumption in both ultimate and proximate analyses of mate choice.

  • Rapid and repeated evolution of mutualism at micro- and macro-evolutionary scales

    Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Conventional wisdom has it that the evolution of cooperation is undermined by conflicts of interest between partners, yet it is also often suggested that cooperation leads to ecological or evolutionary success. This apparent contradiction may be resolved if cooperation evolves rarely, but creates ecological opportunity. However, my lab’s recent research on the evolution of cooperation in plant-animal and host-microbe mutualisms suggests that mutualism evolves more quickly and more often than expected.

  • Critical transitions and self-organization in nature

    Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Critical transitions and self-organization are crucial concepts to understand the dynamics and adaptation of complex ecosystems. I will present a history on the critical transitions concept and its application to a variety of systems. I will link this to self-organization and show how this is related to early warning indicators for critical transitions. Some of the evidence for early warning indicators will be reviewed. I will scale up from ecosystem to global scales and argue that complex systems are more adaptive than previously thought.

  • Recovery of dynamic harvested ecosystems in an uncertain future

    Thu, Apr 5, 2018, 12:30 pm

    A recent synthesis of over 400 recovery and restoration projects suggests that recovery of ecosystems rarely occurs in full. Are we failing in our attempts to manage and conserve ecosystems or is recovery really a moving target? Using a case study in Haida Gwaii, I will describe major shifts in population and community dynamics governing a prolonged recovery of forage fish ecosystems in the North Pacific.

  • How the mouse got its stripes: the developmental basis of pigment pattern evolution in rodents

    Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Mammalian color patterns are among the most conspicuous characters found in nature and can have a profound impact on fitness. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying their formation and subsequent evolution. We capitalized on the naturally occurring color pattern of the African striped mouse, Rhabdomys pumilio, to investigate the formation of periodic stripes, a common pattern in mammals. In striped mice, stripes result from underlying differences in melanocyte maturation, which give rise to spatial variation in hair color.

  • Why haven't drug-resistant bacteria taken over the world?

    Thu, Mar 8, 2018, 12:30 pm

    Apocalyptic projections of the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on human well-being project 100 trillion dollars in lost GDP and 10 million annual deaths from a "do nothing scenario," one which makes the assumption that resistance to all drugs will reach 100% over the next 15 years. Fortunately, such a scenario is pure science fiction. But why? Empirical data suggest that the fraction of bacteria resistant to a given antibiotic class is roughly proportional to national or regional antimicrobial use, but that it doesn't change dramatically over time.

  • Predators and food web dynamics: pattern and process in space and time

    Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 12:30 pm

    The often-stated goal of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of organisms. Although this quest must include influences of history, the physical environment, and species interactions, food web dynamics is unarguably of central importance. My seminar will focus on the work my colleagues and I have done on sea otters and kelp forest food webs over the past half century. I will begin with a description of the key species and how they connect with one another via consumer-prey interactions.

  • Rapid evolution in silence: adaptive signal loss in the Pacific field cricket

    Thu, Mar 1, 2018, 12:30 pm

    By nature of their conspicuousness, sexual signals can cause a conflict between natural and sexual selection, with natural selection favoring a decrease in exaggeration of an ornament and sexual selection favoring an increase. The Pacific field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus, is subject to an acoustically-orienting parasitoid fly where it has been introduced in Hawaii, making calling particularly risky. A novel obligately silent male morph, controlled by a single sex-linked gene, evolved within just 20 generations in some populations in Hawaii.

  • From planetary boundaries to ecosystem services: Guiding development on a changing planet

    Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 12:30 pm

    The current scale, rate, and intensity of anthropogenic change is unprecedented, and has evoked broad discussion about how these changes will affect the future of the planet. Ecosystem services can be an effective organizing principle for meeting the needs of a growing global population while maintaining resilient provision of other services across landscapes. The very idea of ecosystem services compels us to consider more than one service and obliges us to consider the interactions and relationships among services on the landscape.


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