Journal Club

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Category archives for Journal Club

tags: evolutionary biology, speciation, species flocks, molecular phylogeny, behavioral ecology, Synodontis species, squeaker catfish, cuckoo catfish, Lake Tanganyika, peer-reviewed paper The Cuckoo Catfish, Synodontis multipunctatus [Siluriformes: Mochokidae]. This is the only fish that is a known brood parasite. This is one of the species included in this newly-published study. Image: orphaned. One of the groups…

tags: evolutionary biology, mate choice, sex determination, genetic compatibility, behavioral ecology, Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, peer-reviewed paper The three color morphs of Gouldian finches, Erythrura gouldiae. Image: Sarah Pryke, Macquarie University. Gouldian finches, Erythrura gouldiae, are small cavity-nesting passerines that are endemic to open savannahs adjacent to mangrove swamps in northern Australia. These finches eat…

tags: evolution, speciation, diversification rate, Zosterops, White-eyes, ornithology, birds, molecular phylogeny, South Pacific Islands The Splendid (Ranongga) White-eye, Zosterops splendidus, endemic to Ranongga Island in the Solomon Islands archipelago. This species’ home range is smaller than Manhattan Island. Image: Chris Filardi [larger view]. For many decades, the white-eyes (Family: Zosteropidae) were known as the “Great…

tags: parrots, Psittaciformes, evolution, molecular phylogeny, ornithology, Neornithes Red-crowned Amazon parrot, Amazona viridigenalis, at Elizabeth Street Parrotry, Brownsville, Texas. Image: Joseph Kennedy, 7 April 2008 [larger view]. Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/750s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400. One of the most contentious issues among scientists who study the evolution of birds is…

tags: evolution, honeyeaters, Meliphagidae, Mohoidae, birds, ornithology, birds, molecular phylogeny, extinct species, South Pacific Islands Two nectar-feeding birds from Hawai’i, the kioea (brown-streaked, in middle) and an o’o species (lower left), looked so much like nectar specialists from the western Pacific (two species on right) that taxonomists put them all in the same honeyeater family,…

tags: evolution, biogeography, ornithology, birds, avian Kolo Sunset. Photo credit: Christopher E. Filardi, American Museum of Natural History (Click on image for a larger picture). Two of my ornithologist colleagues, Chris Filardi and Rob Moyle, published a paper in the top-tier research journal, Nature. This paper is especially exciting because it shows that oceanic islands…

The Evolution of Poisonous Birds

tags: evolution, Phylogeny, ornithology, chemical defense, Batrachotoxin, poisonous birds, Pitohui, Ifrita, Pachycephalidae, New Guinea The Hooded Pitohui, Pitohui dichrous, endemic to New Guinea, is very unusual because it has poisonous plumage and skin. Image: John Dumbacher. I have been in love with New Guinea since I first read about it as a kid. Everything about…

tags: peer-reviewed paper, psychology, gift wrapping, wrapping paper, behavior, holidays, holidaze Besides bright lights, my favorite thing about the holidays is wrapping gifts. I love covering a boxed gift with colored papers (or even with plain brown paper bags), I get tremendous satisfaction from folding the paper so it makes precise corners and then I…

tags: ecology, exotic species, introduced species, non-native species, invasive species, monk parakeets, quaker parrots, Myiopsitta monachus, Michael A Russello, Michael L Avery, Timothy F Wright Monk (Quaker) parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus, with nest. Image: Arthur Grosset [larger view]. Invasive species are everywhere: from plants such as Scotch (English) broom, Cytisus scoparius, whose yellow flowers bloom prolifically…

tags: blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus, extrapair fertilization, genetic benefit hypothesis, genetic similarity, plumage color, birdsong, ornithology, behavioral ecology Blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus. Image: Paul Hillion, 26 April 2008. Even though most bird species form social bonds with their mates, they are not always faithful partners to each other. It’s easy to figure out why male…