What we’re reading

Day 180: in the stacks

As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen time.

In the journals

Desai, M.M., Walczak, A.M. & Fisher, D.S. 2012. Genetic diversity and the structure of genealogies in rapidly adapting populations. Genetics 1–49. doi: 10.1534/genetics.112.147157.

Here, we introduce an effective coalescent theory (a “fitness-class coales- cent”) that describes how positive selection at many perfectly linked sites alters the structure of genealogies. We use this theory to calculate several simple statistics describing genetic variation within a rapidly adapting pop- ulation, and to implement efficient backwards-time coalescent simulations which can be used to predict how clonal interference alters the expected patterns of molecular evolution.

Coiffard, C., Gomez, B., Daviero-Gomez, V. & Dilcher, D.L. 2012. Rise to dominance of angiosperm pioneers in European Cretaceous environments. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 49: 49–53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218633110.

We propose a scenario for the rise to dominance of the angiosperms from the Barremian (ca. 130 Ma) to the Campanian (ca. 84 Ma) based on the European megafossil plant record. These megafossil data demonstrate that angiosperms migrated into new environments in three phases: (i) Barremian (ca. 130–125 Ma) freshwater lake-related wetlands; (ii) Aptian–Albian (ca. 125–100 Ma) understory floodplains (excluding levees and back swamps); and (iii) Cenomanian–Campanian (ca. 100–84 Ma) natural levees, back swamps, and coastal swamps.

In the blogosphere

Wired picks the year’s best data visualizations. Think you can do better? You should check out this graph makeover contest at Forbes.

And here’s some delightful footage of an undescribed species of peacock spider.

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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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