December 14, 2018

Life History

Recent Papers

Martin Brengdahl, Christopher M. Kimber, Jack Maguire-Baxter, Antonino Malacrinò, and Urban Friberg

Vérane Berger, Jean-François Lemaître, Dominique Allainé, Jean-Michel Gaillard, and Aurélie Cohas

Generation Time in Structured Populations
Stephen P. Ellner

Evolution of Complex Asexual Reproductive Strategies in Jellyfish
Nicolas Azaña Schnedler-Meyer, Simone Pigolotti, and Patrizio Mariani

Collapse, Tipping Points, and Spatial Demographic Structure Arising from the Adopted Migrant Life History
Luke A. Rogers, Anne K. Salomon, Brendan Connors, and Martin Krkošek
Lay summary:

Life-History Multistability Caused by Size-Dependent Mortality
Barbara Taborsky, Mikko Heino, and Ulf Dieckmann

Chronological and Biological Age Predict Seasonal Reproductive Timing: An Investigation of Clutch Initiation and Telomeres in Birds of Known Age
Carolyn M. Bauer, Jessica L. Graham, Mikus Abolins-Abols, Britt J. Heidinger, Ellen D. Ketterson, and Timothy J. Greives
Lay summary:

Morph-Specific Patterns of Reproductive Senescence: Connections to Discrete Reproductive Strategies
Andrea S. Grunst, Melissa L. Grunst, Vince A. Formica, Marisa L. Korody, Adam M. Betuel, Margarida Barcelo-Serra, Sarah Ford, Rusty A. Gonser, and Elaina M. Tuttle
Lay summary:

How Life History Shapes Optimal Patterns of Senescence: Implications from Individuals to Societies
Natalie J. Lemanski and Nina H. Fefferman

Host Traits Drive Viral Life Histories across Phytoplankton Viruses
Kyle F. Edwards and Grieg F. Steward

Phylo-Allometric Analyses Showcase the Interplay between Life-History Patterns and Phenotypic Convergence in Cleaner Wrasses
Vikram B. Baliga and Rita S. Mehta

Open Access
The Geometry of Nutrient Space–Based Life-History Trade-Offs: Sex-Specific Effects of Macronutrient Intake on the Trade-Off between Encapsulation Ability and Reproductive Effort in Decorated Crickets
James Rapkin, Kim Jensen, C. Ruth Archer, Clarissa M. House, Scott K. Sakaluk, Enrique del Castillo, and John Hunt
Lay summary:

Pluck or Luck: Does Trait Variation or Chance Drive Variation in Lifetime Reproductive Success?
Robin E. Snyder and Stephen P. Ellner
Lay summary:

Natural History Note
Extreme Climate-Induced Life-History Plasticity in an Amphibian
François S. Becker, Krystal A. Tolley, G. John Measey, and Res Altwegg
Lay summary:

Life-History Traits Evolved Jointly with Climatic Niche and Disturbance Regime in the Genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae)
Jeanne Tonnabel, Frank M. Schurr, Florian Boucher, Wilfried Thuiller, Julien Renaud, Emmanuel J. P. Douzery, and Ophélie Ronce

Sex-Dependent Phenological Plasticity in an Arctic Hibernator
Cory T. Williams, C. Loren Buck, Michael J. Sheriff, Melanie M. Richter, Jesse S. Krause, and Brian M. Barnes
Lay summary:

Disentangling Genetic and Prenatal Maternal Effects on Offspring Size and Survival
Joel L. Pick, Christina Ebneter, Pascale Hutter, and Barbara Tschirren
Lay summary:

Bioinvasion Triggers Rapid Evolution of Life Histories in Freshwater Snails
Elodie Chapuis, Thomas Lamy, Jean-Pierre Pointier, Nicolas Juillet, Adeline Ségard, Philippe Jarne, and Patrice David

Michael G. Harvey, Alexandre Aleixo, Camila C. Ribas, and Robb T. Brumfield

Open Access
Maria E. Orive, Michael Barfield, Carlos Fernandez, and Robert D. Holt

Benjamin G. Van Allen, Forrest P. Dillemuth, Andrew J. Flick, Matthew J. Faldyn, David R. Clark, Volker H. W. Rudolf, and Bret D. Elderd

Mélissa Verin, Salomé Bourg, Frédéric Menu, and Etienne Rajon

Natural History Note
Walter D. Koenig, Johannes M. H. Knops, William J. Carmen, and Mario B. Pesendorfer

Kyle H. Elliott, Jannie F. Linnebjerg, Chantelle Burke, Anthony J. Gaston, Anders Mosbech, Morten Frederiksen, and Flemming Merkel

Alexandra Schrempf, Julia Giehr, Ramona Röhrl, Sarah Steigleder, and Jürgen Heinze

Subhendu Chakraborty, Lasse Tor Nielsen, and Ken H. Andersen

Marjolein Bruijning, Marco D. Visser, Helene C. Muller-Landau, S. Joseph Wright, Liza S. Comita, Stephen P. Hubbell, Hans de Kroon, and Eelke Jongejans

Evolutionary Dynamics

Recent Papers

Natural History Note
Robin M. Tinghitella, E. Dale Broder, Gabrielle A. Gurule-Small, Claudia J. Hallagan, and Jacob D. Wilson

Anna M. O’Brien, Ruairidh J. H. Sawers, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, and Sharon Y. Strauss

Amanda K. Gibson, Lynda F. Delph, Daniela Vergara, and Curtis M. Lively

Multicellularity Drives the Evolution of Sexual Traits
Erik R. Hanschen, Matthew D. Herron, John J. Wiens, Hisayoshi Nozaki, and Richard E. Michod
Lay summary:

Geographic Range Dynamics Drove Ancient Hybridization in a Lineage of Angiosperms
Ryan A. Folk, Clayton J. Visger, Pamela S. Soltis, Douglas E. Soltis, and Robert P. Guralnick
Lay summary:

Open Access
Evolution and Manipulation of Vector Host Choice
Sylvain Gandon
Lay summary:

The Role of Pleiotropy in the Evolutionary Maintenance of Positive Niche Construction
Rebecca H. Chisholm, Brian D. Connelly, Benjamin Kerr, and Mark M. Tanaka

Temporally Autocorrelated Environmental Fluctuations Inhibit the Evolution of Stress Tolerance
Daniel J. Wieczynski, Paul E. Turner, and David A. Vasseur
Lay summary:

The Price Equation, Gradient Dynamics, and Continuous Trait Game Theory
Jussi Lehtonen
Lay summary:

Natural History Note, Open Access
Loss of Color Pigmentation Is Maintained at High Frequency in a Monkey Flower Population
Alex D. Twyford, Aaron M. Caola, Pratibha Choudhary, Ramesh Raina, and Jannice Friedman
Lay summary

Sex-Specific Heterogeneity in Fixed Morphological Traits Influences Individual Fitness in a Monogamous Bird Population
Floriane Plard, Susanne Schindler, Raphaël Arlettaz, and Michael Schaub
Lay summary:

Learning to Cooperate: The Evolution of Social Rewards in Repeated Interactions
Slimane Dridi and Erol Akçay
Lay summary:

Thermoregulatory Behavior Simultaneously Promotes and Forestalls Evolution in a Tropical Lizard
Martha M. Muñoz and Jonathan B. Losos
Lay summary:

The Biased Evolution of Generation Time
Mélissa Verin, Salomé Bourg, Frédéric Menu, and Etienne Rajon
Lay summary:

How Parallel Is Parallel Evolution? A Comparative Analysis in Fishes
Krista B. Oke, Gregor Rolshausen, Caroline LeBlond, and Andrew P. Hendry
Lay summary:

Extinction Risk and Lack of Evolutionary Rescue under Resource Depletion or Area Reduction
Steinar Engen and Bernt-Erik Sæther

Unexpected Nongenetic Individual Heterogeneity and Trait Covariance in Daphnia and Its Consequences for Ecological and Evolutionary Dynamics
Clayton E. Cressler, Stefan Bengtson, and William A. Nelson
Lay summary

Eco-Evolutionary Theory and Insect Outbreaks
David J. Páez, Vanja Dukic, Jonathan Dushoff, Arietta Fleming-Davies, and Greg Dwyer
Lay summary:

Open Access
What Kind of Maternal Effects Can Be Selected for in Fluctuating Environments?
Stephen R. Proulx and Henrique Teotónio
Lay summary

Open Access, Synthesis
Predicting Responses to Contemporary Environmental Change Using Evolutionary Response Architectures
Rachael A. Bay, Noah Rose, Rowan Barrett, Louis Bernatchez, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Jesse R. Lasky, Rachel B. Brem, Stephen R. Palumbi, and Peter Ralph
Lay summary

Open Access
Determining Selection across Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Perturbation-Based Method and Its Application to Modeling Evolution in Space
Jonas Wickman, Sebastian Diehl Bernd Blasius, Christopher A. Klausmeier, Alexey B. Ryabov, and Åke Brännström

Diversity and Coevolutionary Dynamics in High-Dimensional Phenotype Spaces
Michael Doebeli and Iaroslav Ispolatov
Lay summary:

Open Access, Synthesis
Fundamental Theorems of Evolution
David C. Queller

Evolution of Thermal Reaction Norms in Seasonally Varying Environments
Priyanga Amarasekare and Christopher Johnson

Open Access
Poison Frog Colors Are Honest Signals of Toxicity, Particularly for Bird Predators
Martine E. Maan and Molly E. Cummings
Lay summary:

July 11, 2018


Recent Papers 

Matthew A. Campbell, Austen R. D. Ganley, Toni Gabaldón, and Murray P. Cox

Anieke Brombacher, Paul A. Wilson, Ian Bailey, and Thomas H. G. Ezard

Douglas W. Schemske and Gary G. Mittelbach

Julie A. Meachen and Trina E. Roberts

Adam Kane, Kevin Healy, Graeme D. Ruxton, and Andrew L. Jackson

April 7, 2018

Methods papers in The American Naturalist

We Editors often hear prospective authors say things like “but AmNat doesn’t publish ______”  (fill in whatever the author does in the blank space). Most often, I’ve heard that The American Naturalist does not publish Methods Papers, or does not publish genomics. 
 I’m here to say that in general, those statements are incorrect. I can’t think of subject areas in organismal biology that we exclude a priori.  Quite the contrary, a key goal of this journal is to attract a diverse readership. To do that, we like to publish on diverse topics. Or better yet, to publish papers that bring together multiple topics. 
So what DO we publish? Simple: we like to publish conceptually innovative papers (data, theory, or both), which make our readers think differently about a far-reaching topic. These could be in genomics, ecosystem, ecology, ecoimmunology, or neuroethology, as long as they push us to see an idea in a new light. This can be done by proposing a new idea (and following through to support it), or by providing the best-available evidence for a long-standing but poorly supported idea. Some papers put an innovative new twist on a classic concept. There are papers I call “Reese’s Pieces” science, after the candy made from peanut butter wrapped in chocolate. The advertisements for this candy used to make a big deal out of taking two great but familiar things and putting them together to make something new. Lastly, there are Methods papers.
It is true that The American Naturalist does not often publish purely methodological papers. Partly that’s because we don’t get many submissions. Partly it is because we keep a high bar for conceptual innovation. Often, methods papers provide new tools to solve known problems in a new way, maybe with greater precision. That’s a very useful and important service, but does not necessarily lead us to think about a subject in a new way, or to think about an entirely new subject. But sometimes Methods papers do just that. Joe Felsenstein’s 1985 paper on Independent Contrasts was fundamentally built around a new point of view, that launched the field of phylogenetic comparative methods. Masatoshi Nei proposed his famous Nei’s D in our pages, which launched a new way of thinking about molecular evolution.
What made these Methods papers so effective is that they gave us a tool to solve a problem we didn’t even know we had. By introducing their methods, they made us think differently about old problems, or revealed new questions. Not that we expect all methods submissions to compete with Felsenstein 1985.  But, we do believe there are actually many methods papers out there that fit this criteria of pointing us towards substantially new questions. These may present software or new technology or new protocols. But what should bind these together is an emphasis on opening up new questions, and providing tools to get answers that we couldn’t previously ask, maybe hadn’t even thought to ask, and which expand our conceptual horizons. 

So, Yes, we publish Methods Papers.  To use an analogy: we aren't so interested in tools for their own sake, but rather for what they can help us build. If the tool helps us build a sufficiently interesting new edifice, we might be interested in publishing it. Keep in mind that a paper describing a new method (e.g., a mathematical proof of an equation used in inference), may be most helpful to readers when accompanied by software, or a worked example to illustrate its utility. These are not strict requirements, but do tend to help the audience relate to the method. Conversely, papers describing new software for existing methods will not likely fare well because they are not advancing new kinds of questions, so much as enabling existing questions (which is important of course, but not what we look for).

 If you aren’t sure whether your Methods paper measures up, email the journal office or Editor ( with a succinct pre-submission inquiry. 

February 22, 2018

Changing Landscape of Science Publishing

I was asked to provide some background for a class on Ethics in the Darwinian Sciences on the topic of the Changing Landscape of Science Publishing. Here's the list of resources I thought made a starting point into the ethical questions and changes going on.--Trish


To sort out thorny issues (e.g., authorship disputes, accusations of plagiarism, retractions): Committee on Publication Ethics [COPE]:

To cover the basic responsibilities and ethics of each role in publishing: Council of Science Editors [CSE]:

To get an overview on copyright, publication agreements, and creative commons licenses:

Guides on how to


Solve the questions of authorship BEFORE you write the paper

Peer Review

Open Science

Learn what your funders require--Gold OA, Green OA, self-archiving, opening the paywall, APCs, licenses. Read anything you sign.

Arguments for Open Science at all project stages


Early sharing, green open access, disrupting traditional publishing

Evaluation Metrics

Science Social Media


Blog by Publishers on the Changing Landscape