Current Topics in Ecology and Evolution

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EEB 3894 Overview

Undergraduate Seminar at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Spring, 2009
1 credit
Thursday 2:30-5pm
Bamford conference room (Torrey Life Sciences 171b)

Instructors: Tobias Landberg & Katherine Shaw

We will meet all the distinguished scientists on this semester's list of speakers. Student will be responsible for participating in each meeting. We will read at least one research article written by a different visiting scholar every week. After a half hour of discussion, we will meet the person behind the science and then hear them give an hour-long research seminar. This course is for undergraduate students interested in broadening their understanding of modern ecology and evolutionary biology by engaging in active discussion. Read this guideto writing response papers and preparing for discussion.

Grades will be calculated out of 140 points (10 points/week)

Attendance= 4 points/week Attend discussion and seminar every week.

Participation= 4 points/week Ask questions, volunteer comments and engage in constructive discussion with peers and speaker.

1 page response paper= 2 points/week Typed, double-spaced response to the research article.

Leading 1 discussion= 10 points Pick research article for the discussion, summarize and focus discussion with peers.

  • Email Kat ( with article choice @ least 1 week before you lead seminar discussion.

Read this guideto writing response papers and preparing for discussion.

Spring 2009 Seminars

(Thursday @ 4:00PM in BPB 130 unless otherwise noted)
January 22, 2009 Stuart McDaniel (Washington University) Mating system, hybrid incompatibility, and diversification in mosses

January 29, 2009 Rick Blob (Clemson University) Functional diversity: insights from studies of weird animals doing strange things

February 2, 2009 Frank Moore (The University of Southern Mississippi) TBA

February 5, 2009 Bud Ward (The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media) Bridging the Science/Journalism Gap in a Time of Epochal Change
4:00PM in Dodd Center: Teale Lecture Series

February 12, 2009 David Fastovsky (University of Rhode Island) Catastrophic Extinction of the Dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

February 19, 2009 Maria Uriarte (Columbia University) Human effects on forested landscapes at several spatial and temporal scales

*CANCELLED* February 25, 2009 John Haught (Georgetown University) Evolution and Faith: What Is at Stake?
WEDNESDAY SEMINAR @ 4:00PM in Dodd Center: Darwin Lecture Series

March 5, 2009 Catherine Potvin (McGIll University) Forest carbon stocks and land-use: Reconciling the international agenda with the needs of indigenous populations 4:00PM in Dodd Center: Teale Lecture Series

March 19, 2009 Mark Hauser (Harvard University) The Evolution of a Moral Grammar
4:00PM in Dodd Center: Darwin Lecture Series

March 25, 2009 John Beatty (University of British Columbia) Karl Popper, Darwinianism, and Totalitarianism: Evolutionary Theory and Political Ideology
WEDNESDAY SEMINAR @ 4:00PM in Dodd Center: Darwin Lecture Series

March 26, 2009 Bill Shipley (Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec) Modelling trait-based community assembly through entropy maximization

April 2, 2009 Michael Mares (University of Oklahoma) Sun Tzu and the Art of War: How the Battle of Museums to Survive has a Negative Impact on Nature and the Environment
4:00PM in Dodd Center: Teale Lecture Series

April 9, 2009 Casey Dunn (Brown University) Scalable and portable phylogenetic strategies in the era of high throughput sequencing

April 15, 2009 Paul Ewald (University of Louisville) Darwinian Medicine
WEDNESDAY SEMINAR @ 4:00PM in Dodd Center: Darwin Lecture Series

April 23, 2009 Osvaldo Sala (Brown University) Spatial and temporal controls of carbon cycling in arid and semiarid ecosystems April 30, 2009 Peter Turchin (University of Connecticut) Warfare and the Evolution of Social Complexity: a Multilevel Selection Approach

EEB 3894 Semester Schedule

Trouble accessing the discussion article when off campus? First sign into the UConn VPN and then try the link.

Date Seminar Speaker Presenter Discussion Article
22 January Stuart McDaniel Tobias & Kat None - Discuss Syllabus and Website
29 January Rick Blob LeRoy Blob, R. W. and Snelgrove, J. M. 2006. Antler stiffness in moose (Alces alces): Correlated evolution of bone function and material properties? Journal of Morphology 267: 1075-1086. Download PDF using 'Full Text: PDF'
05 February
(Teale Lecture Series*)
Bud Ward Vladimir Two Posts (online publications) to read:

Ward, B. Top News Executives Focus on Climate Science (Pt.1 of 2) The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Oct. 2, 2007.
Ward, B. Top News Executives Turn to ‘Solutions’: Energy, Costs, Feasibility, and More (Pt.2 of 2) The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Oct. 25, 2007.

12 February David Fastovsky Greg Fastovsky, D.E. and Sheehan, P.M.2005. The Extinction of Dinosaurs in North America. GSA Today 15: 4-10.
19 February Maria Uriarte Michael reading sent via email
25 February
(Darwin Lecture Series*)
(Wednesday Seminar**)
John Haught Thomas reading sent via email
05 March
(Teale Lecture Series*)
Catherine Potvin Sam Dalle, S.P. & Potvin C. 2004. Conservation of useful plants: An evaluation of local priorities from two indigenous communities in Eastern Panama. Economic Botany 58: 38-57.
12 March **Spring Break** **No Class**
19 March
(Darwin Lecture Series*)
Mark Hauser Yalitza Hauser, M. 2005. Our Chimpanzee Mind. Nature 437: 60-63.
26 March Bill Shipley Laura Shipley, B. 2009. Limitations of entropy maximization in ecology:a reply to Haegeman and Loreau. Okios 118: 152-159.
2 April November
(Teale Lecture Series*)
Michael Mares Sadie Mares, M. 1993. Desert Rodents, Seed Consumption, and Convergence. BioScience 43(6): 372-379.
9 April Casey Dunn Elijah Dunn, C.W. and Wagner, G. P. 2006. The evolution of colony-level development in the Siphonophora (Cnidaria:Hydrozoa). Dev. Genes Ecol. 216: 743-754.
15 April
(Darwin Lecture Series*)
(Wednesday Seminar**)
Paul Ewald Colin Eaton, S.B. et al. 2002. Evolutionary Health Promotion. Preventive Medicine 34: 109-118
23 April Osvaldo Sala Gurchetan Yahdjian, L. and Sala, O.E. 2006. Vegetation structure constrains primary production response to increased water availability in the Patagonian steppe of Argentina. Ecology 87:952-962
30 April Peter Turchin Krystle Turchin, P. 2001. Does population ecology have general laws? – Oikos 94: 17–26.

* Seminars in the Darwin Lecture Series and Teale Lecture Series are held in the Konover Auditorium of the Dodd Center (near the Homer Babbidge Library).
** The department seminar will be held on Wednesday of this week. We will discuss a paper on Thursday, and students are encouraged to attend the seminar on Wednesday.