Among vertebrate animals, sexual reproduction is ubiquitous. But why? Asexual populations should outcompete their sexual neighbors (Maynard Smith, 1958).
The first steps in the process of speciation are a bit paradoxical when you think about it…how does one freely interbreeding species make the transition to two reproductively isolated, independent species? More specifically, how do intraspecific mating barriers become interspecific? And why even are there intraspecific mating barriers? Well, that last question is easier to […]
Adapting to temperature is critical for any organism. Thus, many mammals, especially small, temperature-sensitive ones, have adaptations allowing them to modulate their metabolisms to adapt to their local winter temperatures, at an energetic cost (Chappell, 1980; Garcia-Elfring, Barrett, & Millien, 2019; Geiser & Ruf, 1995). The optimal metabolic modulation could be very precise, and would […]
Taking a hike through the Villa Luz Natural Park in Southern Mexico, you’ll quickly find yourself enraptured. As you cross the steel bridge that hangs over the river, the lush, bright green foliage of the jungle and sounds of birds and howler monkeys surround you. The deeper you go, the faint sulfurous smell of rotten […]
In every biology textbook, Darwin’s finches remain a staple introduction to the concept of speciation and adaptive radiations. Considered part of the tanager family, these fifteen species native to the Galapagos Islands evolved from a single ancestor 2 million years ago (Lamichhaney et al. 2015). Since then, many examples of species flocks, or groups of […]
(feature image: The wild sunflower growing by the roadside. Credit: Matt Lavin from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.) Sabrina Heiser (@SabrinaHeiser) has written blog posts in Dr. Stacy Krueger-Hadfield’s Conservation Genetics and Science Communication courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is passionate about science communication, and, therefore, takes […]