March 05, 2015

3:00 PM | dN(eutralist) > dS(electionist)? Part 2
Last week’s post dealt with the debate over differences in the efficacy of purifying selection across human genomes. This week, we’ll look at the differences in de novo mutation rates across populations. The human de novo mutation rate has gone … Continue reading →
1:40 AM | Gone fishing for epigenetic fish…
Apologies to anyone who has been wondering what has happened to this blog. Well it’s a long story involving writing and designing two e-books and two physical paperbacks of the same. All the blog material on this site has inspired my research and discovery leading to massive blogs that are being published as I write […]

March 04, 2015

11:15 PM | New in G3: Fruit fly CatWalk, well fed Drosophila, and house fly sex determination
  Just in time for the 2015 GSA Drosophila Research Conference, the new issue of G3 features FlyCatWalk for sorting live Drosophila based on morphometric traits, a Drosophila genome-wide association study for nutritional indices, and autosomal versus y-linked male determination … Read MoreThe post New in G3: Fruit fly CatWalk, well fed Drosophila, and house fly sex determination appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
8:10 PM | Rules for the black birdwatcher
SUMMARY: Black bird watchers are rare birds themselves, and there are special rules that the black birder must observe to remain safe when out in the field chasing rare birds. . “Any bird that’s black is my bird.” Are you a bird watcher, especially one who chases rare birds? If so, you most likely are white, fifty-five or older, and male. Female birders and young birders are unusual (in my experience), but the rarest birds of all are non-white birders.... Read more
4:40 PM | Sweet Briar College closing
TPP read this news item with a bit of nostalgic sadness. Sweet Briar was called one of the southern seven sisters; a women's college for young ladies of good breeding. This does not mean TPP has any direct connection to Sweet Briar, and everything about it was learned mostly in a two day period 40 years ago on what was one of a young botanist's first job interviews. After giving a presentation at a national meeting, this young PhD (26 at the time) was approached by the Chair of Biology at […]
4:00 PM | Toying with eigenvectors
There are few things I enjoy more than when someone takes the time to clearly communicate a complex idea. The whole “you don’t know it until you teach it” phenomenon gives me the utmost respect for those who put effort into … Continue reading →
3:00 PM | Ferns are weird…
“The love between ferns knows few bounds” Apparently, two fern species, separated by 60 million years were able to produce a viable offspring. That’s roughly the equivalent of a human being able to successfully mate with lemurs. Read about it (or listen to the story from NPRs Morning Addition) over at NPR.
1:00 PM | Looking Sideways In The Mirror
Biology Concepts – platyhelminthes, asymmetry, bilateral symmetry, evolution, cephalization, natural selection, fish, lepidophagyWhat is the largest living structure on Earth? No, it’s not the 2200 acre Armillaria ostoyae fungus in Oregon that we talked about previously. That is the largest single organism, but there is something bigger. The Great Barrier Reef houses more species of coral than any other place on earth, more than 600 species call the reef home. You see how […]

Takeuchi, Y., Hori, M. & Oda, Y. (2012). Lateralized Kinematics of Predation Behavior in a Lake Tanganyika Scale-Eating Cichlid Fish, PLoS ONE, 7 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029272

Lee, H., Kusche, H. & Meyer, A. (2012). Handed Foraging Behavior in Scale-Eating Cichlid Fish: Its Potential Role in Shaping Morphological Asymmetry, PLoS ONE, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044670

Kusche, H., Lee, H. & Meyer, A. (2012). Mouth asymmetry in the textbook example of scale-eating cichlid fish is not a discrete dimorphism after all, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1748) 4715-4723. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2082

Takahashi, T. & Hori, M. (2008). Evidence of disassortative mating in a Tanganyikan cichlid fish and its role in the maintenance of intrapopulation dimorphism, Biology Letters, 4 (5) 497-499. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0244

Hori, M., Ochi, H. & Kohda, M. (2007). Inheritance Pattern of Lateral Dimorphism in Two Cichlids (a Scale Eater, Perissodus microlepis, and an Herbivore, Neolamprologus moorii) in Lake Tanganyika, Zoological Science, 24 (5) 486-492. DOI: 10.2108/zsj.24.486

9:33 AM | Rules for the black birdwatcher | @GrrlScientist
Black bird watchers are rare birds themselves, and there are special rules that the black birder must observe to remain safe when out in the field chasing rare birds. “Any bird that’s black is my bird.”Are you a bird watcher, especially one who chases rare birds? If so, you most likely are white, fifty-five or older, and male. Female birders and young birders are unusual (in my experience), but the rarest birds of all are non-white birders. Continue reading...
8:00 AM | Overcoming implicit bias
I have been working through The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy, edited by Eldar Shafir, and have mixed views so far. As I go through, I will note some interesting points. The opening substantive chapter by Curtis Hardin and Mahzarin Banaji is on bias – and particularly implicit bias. Implicit biases are unconscious negative (or positive) […]
4:49 AM | Another day, another microbiome journal ... alas not as "open access" as claimed
Just got this emailDear Doctor Jonathan Eisen,I would like to invite you to consider submitting a paper to our recently launched Open Access journal Microbiome Science and Medicine ( can be seen from the titles of articles published in our first volume, MICSM reflects the full breadth of research in the diverse areas of microbiome-related science, from molecules to ecosystems:Newton ILG, Sheehan KB, Lee FJ, Horton MA, Hicks RD "Invertebrate systems for […]
1:32 AM | Meet the Scaly-tail Gliders
Among the weirdest and most fascinating of rodents are the scalytails/scaly-tails, scaly-tailed squirrels or anomalures, properly termed Anomaluridae. For those of you that don’t know, this is a... -- Read more on
12:11 AM | Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art
When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continue in academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits … Continue reading →

March 03, 2015

10:44 PM | Bad Faith – Book Review
I was shocked and a lot pleased to go to the mail box a […]
10:29 PM | A Third Year in the Freezers
Happy Third Blogoversary, WIJF blog! I am thick in some paper-writing, so I can’t write my usual detailed summary of the past year. Or so I thought, then I started writing and finished it, so here it is! I didn’t feel I needed to post this, but I like retrospectives and writing this helps me […]
6:42 PM | Very cool cargo trike
Just look at this very cool, very innovative, electric-assisted cargo tricycle.  Wow!  Who wouldn't want one of these?  Perfect for visiting your local farmer's market or running to the neighborhood bakery or wine shoppe. This one is a Raiooo, made in Portugal, and it  involves so many nifty things you would do best to go and read about over at Treehugger where there are more images too. Innovative bicycles just keep showing up making you think they are a favorite […]
6:25 PM | Ice is nice (?) and will suffice
TPP's major achievement for today is to have gotten to the safety of his office without breaking a hip. As a nice change of pace in the winter weather, over night the area was treated to a very thin, very slick glazing of ice produced by freezing rain.  This first near fall occurred while fetching the morning newspaper from the front steps. It was treacherous out there, and TPP witnessed several sliding cars, a sliding city bus, cars unable to go up even gentle slopes, and people […]
5:03 PM | Job Opening – Entomology Curator, Royal British Columbia Museum
After an outpouring of support from the Canadian entomological community, the Royal British Columbia Museum has decided to hire a new Curator of Entomology! The competition for the Curator of Entomology position at the Royal BC Museum is now posted at Deadline for applications has been extended to 24 March.
12:16 PM | Behavioral individuality reveals genetic control of phenotypic variability
Studies of animal personality (or, “behavioral syndromes”, if you choose your words carefully) are so hot right now. One of the assumptions of such studies is that natural selection has somehow favored this behavioral variability/plasticity (and not just differences in … Continue reading →

March 02, 2015

7:23 PM | Climate expert bought and paid for by fossil fuel companies - not really news
Fossil fuel industry caught taking a page out of the tobacco playbook (link).  That's the headline from the March 3, 2015 online version of the Guardian. This refers to people finding out that W. Soon failed to tell people where his money comes from, but this is not really news.  This was known, but obviously not widely known, at least 18 years ago.  Here’s bit of history from an article (The Wall Street Journal Blurs the Lines Between Science, Opinion, & Politics […]
3:44 PM | Sometimes selection gives you more bang for your buck
Most species experience many environmental stressors simultaneously which means the direction and magnitude of evolutionary responses will depend on trade-offs between traits whose relationship may prevent them from being simultaneously optimized. Multiple sources of stress may act in opposing ways, for … Continue reading →
3:30 PM | Choosing Mates Wisely Is All The More Important When They Try To Eat You
Choosing our mates is among the most important decisions of our lives. We agoniz...
1:27 PM | Birdbooker Report 362
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
1:00 PM | NIH distorts report showing risk of stroke after chiropractic
Why would an NIH center try to mislead the public about a newly published study that it funded? Last month NIH’s alternative medicine center, NCCIH, highlighted one of its studies with this headline: “Low risk of stroke after chiropractic spinal manipulation in older patients with neck pain, study finds.” This sounds reassuring, unless you read the study. It turns out that the risk of stroke was up to two or three times higher in patients who saw a chiropractor […]
9:35 AM | The Birds and the Trees | @GrrlScientist
Today’s “Museum Monday” video shows how museums are central to the process of shedding new light upon the relationships within the avian Tree of Life.“If you’ve seen one little brown bird, you’ve seen them all.”As any beginning bird watcher can tell you, many bird species tend to look alike, even those that are not at all related. On the other hand, close relatives may look very different. But appearances and behaviour can be deceiving: for example, […]
9:25 AM | Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes
Pigot & Eitenne 2015 Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes. Ecology Letters 18(2) 153-163 As if by magic, the ‘new’ approaches I hoped would appear last post have done so. It’s almost as if I know the posting schedule ahead of time!… Alex Pigot and Rampal Etienne have produced an analytical framework within which we […]
8:00 AM | Introducing Evonomics
What is Evonomics? Evonomics is an online magazine and intellectual movement built on the pillars of complexity science and evolutionary principles, and includes key insights from the synthesis that has slowly been growing across disciplines in areas like behavioral, experimental, institutional, and ecological economics. The magazine showcases the new scientific foundations for human nature and […]

March 01, 2015

8:44 PM | Sunday Chess Problem
One of the underappreciated aspects of chess composition is that some problems have a sense of humor. Sure, the real classics show deep and surprising ideas and do so with impressive constructional finesse. But other problems just bring a smile to your face. This week I have two such problems for you. Neither is difficult…
12:35 AM | Gene Duplication May Be the Cause of Human Brains
File under my favorite category “things that crea […]

February 28, 2015

9:19 PM | Friday Fabulous Flowers - Olfactory edition
TPP walked into the glasshouse and immediately knew that the taro (Coleocasia esculenta) was in bloom. Generally most people don't notice the distinctive fragrance nor the actual "flower" which hides among the large leaves. This is an aroid, Jack-in-the-pulpit being the best known member of the family here abouts. So, what you really have here is a spike of flowers, an inflorescence known at the spadix, surrounded by a modified leaf, a bract, known as a spathe. In the case of taro only half the […]
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