This week's lab-meeting will take place at an unusual time: Friday 9 December at 10.00 in "Argumentet". I hope you can make it, as Machteld and I will tell us a little bit about our impressions from the ASAB-meeting in London, where we recently participated. In addition, I would like to discuss two recent articles in Science which are of interest to evolutionary ecologists (and which are short reads). You will find more information about these papers below, including links and Abstracts.
First, there is this interesting study about negative frequency-dependent selection in voles:
Sexually antagonistic genetic variation, where optimal values of traits are sex-dependent, is known to slow the loss of genetic variance associated with directional selection on fitness-related traits. However, sexual antagonism alone is not sufficient to maintain variation indefinitely. Selection of rare forms within the sexes can help to conserve genotypic diversity. We combined theoretical models and a field experiment with Myodes glareolus to show that negative frequency-dependent selection on male dominance maintains variation in sexually antagonistic alleles. In our experiment, high-dominance male bank voles were found to have low-fecundity sisters, and vice versa. These results show that investigations of sexually antagonistic traits should take into account the effects of social interactions on the interplay between ecology and evolution, and that investigations of genetic variation should not be conducted solely under laboratory conditions.
Second, there is this study on individual face recognition in paper wasps:
We demonstrate that the evolution of facial recognition in wasps is associated with specialized face-learning abilities. Polistes fuscatus can differentiate among normal wasp face images more rapidly and accurately than nonface images or manipulated faces. A close relative lacking facial recognition, Polistes metricus, however, lacks specialized face learning. Similar specializations for face learning are found in primates and other mammals, although P. fuscatus represents an independent evolution of specialization. Convergence toward face specialization in distant taxa as well as divergence among closely related taxa with different recognition behavior suggests that specialized cognition is surprisingly labile and may be adaptively shaped by species-specific selective pressures such as face recognition.