What we're reading: Tradeoffs in a songbird pathogen, new coalescent models, and the value of museum collections

reading on the roof
In the journals
Williams PD, AP Dobson, KV Dhondt, DM Hawley, and AA Dhondt. 2014. Evidence of trade-offs shaping virulence evolution in an emerging wildlife pathogen. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12379.

Relationships between pathogen traits are also investigated, with transmission and recovery rates being significantly negatively correlated, whereas transmission and virulence, measured as average eye lesion score over the course of infection, are positively correlated.

Tellier A, and C Lemaire. 2014. Coalescence 2.0: a multiple branching of recent theoretical developments and their applications. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12755.

We explain how these new models take into account various pervasive ecological and biological characteristics, life history traits or life cycles which were not accounted in previous theories such as 1) the skew in offspring production typical of marine species, 2) fast adapting microparasites (virus, bacteria and fungi) exhibiting large variation in population sizes during epidemics, 3) the peculiar life cycles of fungi and bacteria alternating sexual and asexual cycles, and 4) the high rates of extinction-recolonization in spatially structured populations.

In the news
“Institutions that successfully reduce false positives in their research output could then sell off their surplus permits to other institutions that have exceeded their allocation. This flexibility would create incentives for researchers to find innovative ways to reduce false positives.”
“I feel that as long as I am productive, as long as my peeps are doing well and they are productive, as long as the distress and discomfort to the animals is as low as I can get it, and they are not wasted, its OK not to use Every Bit Of Data.”
“Scientific collecting is important in many ways, and not just in describing and defining biodiversity.”
Because of course you want to start a script with this: require("wesanderson")
“Professors, then, worked 51 hours during the official workweek and then, in addition, put in ten hours over the weekend.”

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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