This post is jointly written by a postdoc in ecology/evolution, and a PhD student in education sciences. Our backgrounds may be very different, but we share the interest in changing the learning culture at university, which currently leaves some of the brightest minds behind. To explain what we mean by that, we would like to take you on a personal journey about our own struggles and how they shaped our views on the higher education system.
“Perhaps because I visited these forests and was struck by their uniqueness (such as the remnant Nothofagus forest) and vibrant life, I felt the recent massive destruction as a mental and even physical stress.”
Life in nature is full of systems that we can learn from. Systems like the poison-frogs and their signals. We can observe life responding to the laws of nature to learn how systems work. The principles that we learn can guide our understanding of other systems.
In biology, data on species abundance, diversity and traits are made openly available in big biodiversity databases: big data. Here, I highlight some problems that big data approaches can have, which is particularly worrying if analysis outcomes are used to inform (inter)national policies on conservation strategies.*
Tyrian purple is a unique dye, which comes from the snail Hexaplex trunculus. Thousands of years ago, so many snails were harvested that the shells left behind forever changed the landscape of many Mediterranean cities. These middens, mounds of shell remains reflect the demand of ancient royalty for something as simple as the color purple. By pairing archeological studies of middens with modern experiments, the feeding patterns of H. trunculus can be revealed.
The next iteration in a series of posts entitled “Reflections on the Past”, by Hari Sridhar. Read how Hari revisits old papers in ecology and evolution through interviews with their authors. To view the full series visit: http://www.reflectionsonpaperspast.wordpress.com
Myriad species exist where males within the same population display alternative morphologies, often referred to as minors and majors (“lovers and fighters”), that are associated with different ways of gaining access to mates. Their coexistence is typically explained using sexual selection theory. However, other explanations exist, but they have not been explored in great depth yet.*