Wooing widows

Sexual selection can be a powerful force in nature (remember these moths and their antennae?). This form of selection is propelled by how picky the choosers are. But choosiness depends on a lot of factors– and not just on how good of a dancer or a fighter a potential mate is! The stakes are pretty high for male black widow spiders because if they fail to impress, they could get eaten. In this infographic we’re…

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The right temperature

Parallel evolution is a famous thought experiment in evolutionary biology. The biologist Stephen J Gould wondered what would happen if you pressed “reset” on the Earth. Would the same forms of life evolve in the same ways? We still don’t know! But a cool new way to test this idea has presented itself in recent years: evolution in cities. This infographic is based on a paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution: Parallel selection on thermal…

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The state of Beaufort belugas

Belugas, AKA “canaries of the sea.” Their chatty vocalizations earned them this nickname, but they’re canaries in more way than one. Like canaries in coalmines, biologists look to belugas to get insight into how changing conditions in the Arctic affect marine mammals and associated ecosystems. This infographic is based on work published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Check out the full paper here (open access): Body condition impacts blood and muscle oxygen storage capacity…

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Black in ecology & evolution

To help highlight Black excellence in ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB), we’re featuring papers by Black scientists in our upcoming infographics. Stay tuned for some seriously cool science! Find these infographics on our site by searching for the #BlackInEEB tag. We rounded up some links with more discussion about diversity and anti-racism initiatives in ecology & evolution, so be sure to check them out too: African Americans in evolutionary science: where we have been, and…

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Birbs in the ‘burbs

In general when natural habitats are destroyed to make way for humans, the organisms previously living there have a tough time finding new accommodations. Of course, some species are very successful (looking at you, grey squirrels). These species tend to be generalists, or those able to make a living in a variety of places and eat a variety of things. Specialist species have specific requirements–like habitats or food sources–that need meeting for them to thrive…

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Light pollution affects more things than you think

We recently made this infographic for an upcoming symposium at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2021 meeting. Light pollution has profound effects on how individuals, populations, species, and ecosystems function. And these effects aren’t limited to nocturnal species, either! Read on to see what kinds of havoc our human lumens wreak.

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Pollutants & plumage

The state of a bird’s feathers can actually tell us a lot about their physical condition. Being shiny, or iridescent, doesn’t depend only on color-producing molecules like melanin, but also feather structure. This means it could be even more sensitive to poor nutrition or habitat quality. So how does iridescence hold up in polluted environments? Read the full article in Avian Conservation & Ecology here (open access): Iridescent coloration of Tree Swallows relates to environmental…

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Whales in warming waters

Global warming is making normally frigid Arctic waters more hospitable to more species. Killer whales in Canadian waters are gradually expanding their range northward, which isn’t great news for the narwhal (unicorns of the sea!) that live there. Read all about it in Global Change Biology ($): Killer whale abundance and predicted narwhal consumption in the Canadian Arctic. (or watch a video!) Here’s a link to a related article Killer whale migration upends Arctic waters…

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Can we all just coexist?

We humans going about our daily lives have profound impacts on wildlife. Lots of things we do affect the organisms around us, from pollution, noise, garbage, food waste, hitting things with cars, salting roads for winter, building places for us to live; the list goes on. And on, and on and on. So what can we do about it? Demolishing cities or not expanding them doesn’t seem like a viable option, so researchers are looking…

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