Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Food Appreciation and Pricing

This article was just published today:
 Don't like the food? Try paying more
It sounded awfully similar to the discussion we had in class.  Sounds like a lot of people are interested in looking more into this field.  It seems like it has a lot of potential for manipulating people, and various applications for making good money.

Also this:
Snobby staff can boost luxury retail sales
It seems like consumers are just begging to be taken advantage of.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keystone Predators and the Circle of Life
 You may be wondering why Rafiki and the "Circle of Life" song is playing on a blogpost. Well, that's because keystone predators hold the "Circle of Life" together! That is, if the keystone predator is removed from the community it is in or is added to another community then there could be major changes in abundances of other species within the community. An example of this can be seen in the kelp forest community consisting of otters, urchins, and kelp. The otter(see the .gif below) is the keystone in the community, if it is removed then the urchins will devour all the kelp and the circle will be broken and the community left desolated.
For another article about keystone predators click here!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Trophic cascades

Last week we discussed the concept of trophic cascades - the effects of one trophic level on not only the trophic level below it (a direct interaction) but on levels one or even more below it (indirect interactions). There are many interesting papers on this topic, but one I mentioned was about the impacts of a top carnivore (coyote) on native bird fauna (via effects on meso-predators such as cats) in California chaparral.  That reference is here (and link to the article):

Crooks, Kevin R., and Michael E. SoulĂ©. "Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system.Nature 400.6744 (1999): 563-566.

The other one I mentioned was about the impacts of removing top predators in many different systems.  The has been called "trophic downgrading" and a very nice recent paper was published in Science by the ecologist who revealed the interesting food chain dynamics related to sea otters and kelp forests - James Estes.  The paper I cited is here:

Estes, James A., et al. "Trophic downgrading of planet earth." Science 333.6040 (2011): 301-306.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Other Relevant Blogs

I thought it might be cool to see other blogs related to ecology and see the conversations other communities are having to inspire discussions here.

CS 25 Walking Bio Blog (Props to Dr. Tyler)
Check this out if you are considering taking this class to see all the adventures we have over the quarter.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Scientists discover first Female Penis

Scientists is Brazil discovered 4 species of insects where the Female possesses a penis that she uses to gather sperm from inside the male. The first link is a decent article from The Verge, and the second is the actual scientific article



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Here's a quick video look into the modern implications of Cane Toad infestation in Australia, and attempts at mitigation. Let's hope they're able to find a solution!

Video>>> http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s3986333.htm

Evolutionary Arm Race: Futurama Style

A simple play on an evolutionary arms race brought to you by Futurama. It starts as a symbiotic relationship, then an arms race ensues.


Futurama Play on Lichen Symbiosis

If you're bored, watch this Futurama episode (season 7 episode 4) that has a comedic play on the relationship of lichen. Langdon Cobb with his pet guard dog Fungi.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Human Potential

Find something that connects you to the energy of the Universe...  


...There you will find peace.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Hello Ladies.

and curious gentlemen too.


I found this very enlightening, if not a little bit terrifying.  The article explains why women get periods, but also include things like why placentas and pregnancy are even more horrifying than I previously though.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moral behavior in animals

This is the video I showed some excerpts of in class.

The bit with the capuchin demanding fairness is also available here as a 2 minute clip.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


UC Davis researchers have discovered that zebras developed their stripes in response to biting flies. Ouch!

They found that the stripes work at keeping the flies away by disrupting the light patterns used by the flies to find food and water.

The article described the biting flies as an annoyance to zebras. I find it interesting that such a peculiar trait would arise from annoyance. Any ideas on why the biting flies would cause such an extreme evolutionary change?



For our new class members here are the links to three chosen topic examples:

Chosen topic example 1
Chosen topic example 2
Chosen topic example 3