By: Moussa Abboud, Victoria Pinaretta, Jack Ryan, and Cameron Sarkisian (Stonehill College, BIO323: Evolution, Spring 2023)
Just as natural selection acts on land, the creatures of the sea experience the same selective pressures! As a mode of evolution, natural selection works by weeding out those who are not as fit as others, while promoting those who are most successful at survival and reproduction. If the history of evolution has taught us anything, it is that one important way to make sure your genes get passed on through your offspring is to become the best at adapting to your environment! A great example of such a concept is visualized in nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius), where the predatory avoidance behaviors of freshwater and marine populations provide insight into the differences in how they evolved this behavior from a common ancestor. Here, we summarize an article about these sticklebacks that was published recently in Evolution by researchers from the University of Helsinki.
By: Abby Campbell, Molly Cannon, and Marissa Freitas (Stonehill College, BIO323: Evolution, Spring 2022)
Safety in numbers: How Color Morph Frequency Affects Predation Risk in an Aposematic Moth is an article with the main purpose of understanding polymorphic warning signals in aposematic systems. This article was published by the American Naturalist in July 2021, written by Swanne P. Gordon, Emily Burdfield-Steel, Jimi Kirvesoja and Johanna Mappes. Aposematic is defined as a defense strategy that combines a primary warning signal (aposematic) with a secondary chemical defense. This study evaluated how bird behavior influenced the survival of three morphs of the aposematic wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis) that coexist in the same environment to a predator located from the same area. The three morphs of the moth were white, yellow, and red/ orange coloration. It calls attention to the need to understand predator foraging in natural environments with variable prey defenses to better examine how behavioral interactions between predator and prey affect evolutionary change.