It should not come as a surprise to the regular reader of this blog that a lot can be learned about animal cognition by simply observing animal behavior. But can observing animal behavior lead the observer to make inferences about brain anatomy? Can observing animal behavior tell us something about the evolution of the brain?
Figure 1: Like the raccoon says.
Let's say you have two very very closely related species. You might even call them congeneric, because they are from the same taxonomic ........ Read more »
Jacobs, L. (1990) Evolution of Spatial Cognition: Sex-Specific Patterns of Spatial Behavior Predict Hippocampal Size. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87(16), 6349-6352. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.87.16.6349
Plantations sequester less carbon than natural forests according to a new study recently published in the open access journal PLoS ONE. Yiqi Luo from the University of Oklahoma and fellow researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 86 experimental studies comparing plantations and their natural forest counterparts...... Read more »
Liao, C., Luo, Y., Fang, C., & Li, B. (2010) Ecosystem Carbon Stock Influenced by Plantation Practice: Implications for Planting Forests as a Measure of Climate Change Mitigation. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010867
It must have sounded like a great idea at the time. Uganda’s Kibale National Park (KNP) is scenic, diverse, important for the largest bit of mid-elevation tropical rainforest remaining in East Africa it contains, with its primates — and short of cash. But it also has wild robusta coffee (Coffea canephora) in its forest, and [...]... Read more »
LILIEHOLM, R., & WEATHERLY, W. (2010) Kibale Forest Wild Coffee: Challenges to Market-Based Conservation in Africa. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01527.x
Never in history of mankind have we reared as many pigs and chickens as now. The growing demand for meat, especially in developing countries like China, exerts a great pressure in the increase of the quantity of meat in commerce. Therefore, more wild birds are being caught and more domestic birds are being bred. The [...]... Read more »
Dugan, V., Chen, R., Spiro, D., Sengamalay, N., Zaborsky, J., Ghedin, E., Nolting, J., Swayne, D., Runstadler, J., Happ, G.... (2008) The Evolutionary Genetics and Emergence of Avian Influenza Viruses in Wild Birds. PLoS Pathogens, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000076
Guan, Y. (1999) Molecular characterization of H9N2 influenza viruses: Were they the donors of the "internal" genes of H5N1 viruses in Hong Kong?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 96(16), 9363-9367. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.16.9363
It is well documented that Thomas Robert Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population greatly influenced both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace’s independent conception of their theory of natural selection. In it, Malthus puts forward his observation that the finite nature of resources is in conflict with the potentially exponential rate of reproduction, [...]... Read more »
Walter Garstang famously said that ontogeny creates phylogeny: you need to understand the development of a structure to understand the diversity of that structure across species.
There are a few different ways to change the way a structure is put together. Research on the development of limbs has tended to view morphological changes as being caused by changing boundaries that delineate different regions of the embryo. If you want a bigger forebrain, shift the boundary between the forebrain and ........ Read more »
Sylvester, J., Rich, C., Loh, Y., van Staaden, M., Fraser, G., & Streelman, J. (2010) Brain diversity evolves via differences in patterning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(21), 9718-9723. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1000395107
Forest carbon stocks fluctuate after bark beetle infestation
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Pfeifer, E.M., Hicke, J.A., & A.J.H. Meddens. (2010) Observations and modeling of aboveground tree carbon stocks and fluxes following a bark beetle outbreak in the western United States. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02226.x
by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered
Bacteria have been sexually promiscuous, swapping genes with gusto, for a very long time. More than 15% of E. coli's genome has arrived via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), with some 200 installments having turned up since it diverged from Salmonella 100 million years ago. And, as you are probably thinking, those 200 are...... Read more »
Kenzaka T, Tani K, & Nasu M. (2010) High-frequency phage-mediated gene transfer in freshwater environments determined at single-cell level. The ISME journal, 4(5), 648-59. PMID: 20090786
Enteroviruses such as Poliovirus and Hepatitis are notorious for the disastrous effects they cause upon infection. A study recent published in Cell contributes a significant finding to the field of RNA virus replication. The Altan-Bonnet lab at Rutgers University has shown how that upon infection, RNA viruses generate specialized RNA replication organelles enriched in phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate [...]... Read more »
Hsu, N., Ilnytska, O., Belov, G., Santiana, M., Chen, Y., Takvorian, P., Pau, C., van der Schaar, H., Kaushik-Basu, N., & Balla, T. (2010) Viral Reorganization of the Secretory Pathway Generates Distinct Organelles for RNA Replication. Cell, 141(5), 799-811. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.03.050
Apparently, climate change might not be such a bad thing. Especially not if you are an exploited species of bivalve. Now I am not trying to be a climate change apologist, but too often we get caught up in this debate and science is 99% of the time on the side saying "It's bad." However, as I have learned in my own research with invasive species, there are always two sides to every coin. A warming ocean could be a benefit to numerous species, probably as many species as it might be of detrime........ Read more »
Shephard, S., Beukers-Stewart, B., Hiddink, J., Brand, A., & Kaiser, M. (2009) Strengthening recruitment of exploited scallops Pecten maximus with ocean warming. Marine Biology, 157(1), 91-97. DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1298-7
I've mentioned before that this summer I’ll be part of some whale shark field work studies in Mexico. Some of it will focus on how these amazing animals find patches of their planktonic food in the ocean. There’s a pretty good likelihood that they have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell and can detect food from miles away. They’re a bit different than toothy sharks though, because they aren’t... Read more »
What do global warming, ocean acidification, and KO’d crayfish have in common? Carbon dioxide.
A forthcoming paper by Biewbower and Cooper caught my eye because it incidentally supports a contention in the last paper I co-authored on crustacean nociception (Puri & Faulkes 2010). We couldn’t find any evidence that crustaceans responded to acids.
The new paper isn’t actually interested in acids; it’s all about what carbon dioxide does to crayfish. The first question is, can crayfish ........ Read more »
Bierbower, S., & Cooper, R. (2010) The effects of acute carbon dioxide on behavior and physiology in Procambarus clarkii. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology. DOI: 10.1002/jez.620
Zen recently wrote mentioned this study on his blog, so I thought it was time to dredge it out of the archives. Also, I've just returned from APS (see my daily recaps here here and here), and I am TIRED.
Domestic animals and their wild counterparts can be different in big ways; there can be differences in morphology (physical characteristics), physiology, and behavior. These changes may depend on spontaneous adaptations to captivity or to artificial selection pressures arising from the motivati........ Read more »
Lewejohann L, Pickel T, Sachser N, & Kaiser S. (2010) Wild genius - domestic fool? Spatial learning abilities of wild and domestic guinea pigs. Frontiers in zoology, 7(1), 9. PMID: 20334697
For some time now, evolutionary biologists have used phylogenetics. It is a well-established, powerful set of tools that allow us to test evolutionary hypotheses. More recently, however, these methods are being imported to analyse linguistic and cultural phenomena. For instance, the use of phylogenetics has led to observations that languages evolve in punctuational bursts, explored [...]... Read more »
Lycett SJ, Collard M, & McGrew WC. (2009) Cladistic analyses of behavioural variation in wild Pan troglodytes: exploring the chimpanzee culture hypothesis. Journal of human evolution, 57(4), 337-49. PMID: 19762070
Greenhill, S., Currie, T., & Gray, R. (2009) Does horizontal transmission invalidate cultural phylogenies?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1665), 2299-2306. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1944
A new study interestingly implies that human activities may not always be bad for biodiversity. Long before the colonizers arrived in South America, indigenous farmers, belonging to the Arauquinoid cultures, had already interfered with the Amazonian biodiversity. Their novel agricultural engineering methods had changed the savannah ecosystem, resulting in increased biodiversity. Thus states the solid paper, on 'Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchi........ Read more »
McKey D, Rostain S, Iriarte J, Glaser B, Birk JJ, Holst I, & Renard D. (2010) Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(17), 7823-8. PMID: 20385814
Pthalates are esters of pthalic acid that are commonly added to plastics but also are found in diverse products ranging from cosmetics to pharmaceutical pills. As could be expected, studies that monitor phthalate metabolites in human populations have shown that they are widely present. Over the years, there have been many concerns over their effect on human health notably as hormonal disrupting agents. This has led to the regulation of some phthalates in consumer products in Europe and the Unite........ Read more »
Engel SM, Miodovnik A, Canfield RL, Zhu C, Silva MJ, Calafat AM, & Wolff MS. (2010) Prenatal phthalate exposure is associated with childhood behavior and executive functioning. Environmental health perspectives, 118(4), 565-71. PMID: 20106747
This is somewhat of a followup post. What's really cool about this paper (to Sci, anyway), is that it brings two different areas that she's been interested in into one cool glob of SCIENCE. And it helps to explain many of the questions that Sci got in response to two of the papers she has blogged about recently.
They are these:
1) The Incredible Healing Mouse: Bedelbeava et al. "Lack of p21 expression links cell cycle control and appendage regeneration in mice" Proceeding of the National Aca........ Read more »
Pechnick, R., Zonis, S., Wawrowsky, K., Pourmorady, J., & Chesnokova, V. (2008) p21Cip1 restricts neuronal proliferation in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(4), 1358-1363. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0711030105
Acupuncture has yet to withstand Placebo control trials. Therefore Bloggers and Twitterers are upset about an upcoming Nature Neuroscience paper that reports having found a biological basis for how acupuncture "works". I think the criticism is undeserved...... Read more »
Nanna Goldman et al. (2010) Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Nature Neuroscience. info:/10.1038/nn.2562
A recently published paper has impelled me to discuss a favorite theory of mine, involving the actual stages in which our species language skills evolved. Or rather, the final stage. The paper itself, Dissociating neural subsystems for grammar by contrasting word order and inflection (by Aaron J. Newmana, Ted Supallab, Peter Hauserc, Elissa L. Newportb, and Daphne Bavelier), reports the investigation of differential brain region usage in interpreting two different types of langua........ Read more »
Newman, A., Supalla, T., Hauser, P., Newport, E., & Bavelier, D. (2010) Dissociating neural subsystems for grammar by contrasting word order and inflection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(16), 7539-7544. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003174107
It’s been a good few weeks with many of our papers coming out online early – for example, I highlighted one last week on ecosystem function breakdown from global warming. Although this has been out for a few weeks, our new paper lead by PhD candidate Xingli Giam (formerly of National University of Singapore, recently [...]... Read more »
Giam, X., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Tan, H., & Sodhi, N.S. (2010) Future habitat loss and the conservation of plant biodiversity. Biological Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.04.019
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