FLUMP your hands in the air! And wave them like you just don’t care! (No Comments)


Spizella passerina - Wikimedia Commons

It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and other stuff) that we found interesting but didn’t have the time to write an entire post about. If you think there’s something we missed, or have something to say, please share in the comments section!

Spring is arriving in the Pacific Northwest, at least for today, and I can tell because this morning I awoke to the imabird symphony, the brain-numbingly repetitive nature of which made me which made appreciate song diversity in birds. Last week’s issue of Ecology had a paper documenting the effects of invasive spotted knapweed in homogenizing song structure among Chipping sparrows. I can’t blame spotted knapweed for the uncreative birds in my yard.  This adds another voice to Bernie Krause’s chorus touting the value of passive listening in biodiversity research.

Also, in the Annals of the Final Frontier/s (something I just made up), I can’t wait to sail on this! But first I’ll wait to see how she handles in a storm and whether you can still do microscopy with a 15′ swell.   – Emily Grason

Nathan G. Swenson recently published a book for people interested in doing phylogenetic and functional analyses in R, titled “Functional and Phylogenetic Ecology in R”.

Stevan Arnold suggests that Evolutionary Biology is currently in the middle of its greatest period of synthesis in his new paper “Phenotypic Evolution: The Ongoing Synthesis”. He analyzed data on citations, conduct, and content patterns in order to compare this “Ongoing Synthesis” to the periods of synthesis of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Nicolas Loeuilleand Mathew Leibold introduce a new mechanistic model and discuss how metacommunity diversity and macroecological patterns can be linked to the three distinctive ecological dynamics in their new paper “Effects of local negative feedbacks on the evolution of species within metacommunities”. – Vinicius Bastazini.

I always enjoy reading a good review of an old paper. So, it was fun to check out AmNat’s Countdown to 150, which is basically like what we often do here (review papers that inspired us), but with slightly more distinguished ecologists doing the reviewing. Mark McPeek’s review of Simon Levin’s 1970 paper on limiting factors and competition was insightful, brief, and quoted Dr. Suess.

We’re all pretty familiar with species loss due to extinction, but species can also disappear because of hybridization. In the same AmNat issue, Sonia Kleindorfer and colleagues report on Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos that used to be three species, but now are two. Since the descendants of the three species are still around, the species loss isn’t quite the same as typical extinction, but it does motivate some interesting thoughts about how we delimit species and think about diversity in the face of evolution. – Jes Coyle

Fellow science blog Deep Sea News recently put out a captivating profile on the mesmerizing Sapphirina copepod.  These sexually dimorphic, parasitic critters make bioluminescence look like an original Twilight Zone episode.

March 15th is the final day to weigh in on future ocean research priorities.  The Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC) is asking for input from the scientific community to develop their marine research strategy for the next ten years.  This plan will then be submitted to NSF to help determine future funding for oceanic science, including deep-sea exploration and biodiversity studies.  Please voice your opinions and help ensure that the next decade for marine research is a promising one! – Nate Johnson


28 February 2014

February 28, 2014

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