Can Scents Create New Species? Smells Like Orchid Bee Evolution

January 17, 2020

A male orchid bee zips around the rainforest, a flash of iridescent green against an equally emerald background. The bee stops at various flowers, fungi and dead trees, collecting fragrant particles and storing them in pockets in its hind legs. Then, it perches on a tree trunk. But the bee doesn’t rest. Instead, it flitters about, using its wings to disperse a bouquet of perfumes into the air.

The aromatic efforts are all for the sake of attracting a mate.  

Attack of the Clones: Investigating the Non-Genetic Origins of Behavior with New Faculty Kate Laskowski

November 22, 2019
About 250,000 years ago, in the region that would become southern Texas and northern Mexico, a unique evolutionary event reshaped the future of a local fish species.

A female Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana) reproduced with a male Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna), producing a unique fish hybrid called the Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa). In many cases, nature safeguards hybrids through sterility. But in the case of the Amazon molly, something extraordinary happened.

Distinguished Professor Art Shapiro Profiled by The Los Angeles Times

November 12, 2019

November 12, 2019

"Meet the scientist who's been counting California butterflies for 47 years and has no plans to stop," reads the headline for a profile article about Distinguished Professor Art Shapiro, of the Department of Evolution and Ecology and the Center for Population Biology. The piece was published today in the Los Angeles Times.   

Aggie Hero: Professor Jonathan Eisen

November 08, 2019

November 05, 2019

Posted by Tanya Perez

Perhaps the best way to sum up Professor Jonathan Eisen’s philosophy is to note his belief that “It is important to fix that which is easily fixable.” 

Eisen, who has appointments in the Genome Center, the department of evolution and ecology, and the department of medical microbiology and immunology, “uses his powers of national influence for good,” according to his Aggie Hero nominator. 

Elastic Slingshot Powers Snipefish Feeding

October 29, 2019

The snipefish, an ocean-dwelling relative of the seahorse, has a very long, skinny snout ending in a tiny mouth. A recent study by UC Davis graduate student Sarah Longo shows that snipefish feed with an elastic-boosted head flick at almost unprecedented speed.

“At as little as two milliseconds, it’s among the fastest feeding events ever recorded for fish,” said Longo, now a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University.