Big data also need big concepts

Big data In biology, data on species abundance, diversity and traits are collected within large, international collaborative  projects, citizen science projects, and permanent monitoring stations. These data are made openly available in big biodiversity databases: big data. Below I highlight some problems that big data approaches can have, which is particularly worrying if analysis outcomes are…

Lovers and fighters, and the difficulties of understanding their coexistence

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…

Peering behind the curtain: how genetic context and fluctuating environments help to maintain alternative mating tactics

A blog post by Kathryn Stewart (@Kat_A_Stewart) on our paper “ The role of genetic diversity in the evolution and maintenance of environmentally-cued, male alternative reproductive tactics” by Stewart et al. (2019), published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. 19:58. Philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and scientists have pitted nature vs. nurture against one another for a long time. In fact,…

Lovers and fighters, and how their coexistence affects their evolution within an eco-evolutionary feedback loop

To contribute towards integrating the field of eco-evolutionary dynamics and move the field forward, scientific journals from the British Ecological Society, including the Journal of Animal Ecology, have just published a cross-journal special feature entitled “Eco-evolutionary dynamics across scales”, edited by Franziska Brunner, Jacques Deere, Martijn Egas, Christophe Eizaguirre and Joost Raeymaekers. How evolutionary changes…

Can traits of individuals inform on how populations respond to change? A cross-journal special feature on linking organismal functions, life history strategies and population performance

We are in great need of an integrative framework that allows ecologists to predict life history strategies (i.e. the different ways in which individuals trade-off resource investment into survival or reproduction) from functional traits: traits of individuals that inform on the performance of a population of plants or animals as a whole. To contribute towards…