Hot Student Papers

The genetics of chutes and ladders: a community genetics approach to tritrophic interactions

19 Apr 2016 - 7:54am
spider feeding on a weevil

Imagine a world where your behavior, your susceptibility to disease and predation, and the survival of your children are genetically determined by the genes of another species. That world exists for insects living on plants according the latest paper by PDF Dr. Diego Carmona (Johnson Lab). Diego just published “The genetics of chutes and ladders: a community genetics approach to tritrophic interactions” in Oikos. Using three large field experiments at KSR, Diego showed that genetic variation in traits of the plant Common Evening Primrose directly determines the number of eggs a female weevil lays on plants. Genetic differences between plants subsequently affect the survival, mass and even the sex ratio of her progeny.

Antiherbivore defenses alter natural selection on plant reproductive traits

11 Apr 2016 - 9:52am
white clover

Shakespeare taught us that love and enmity are intricately entwined. M.Sc. student Ken Thompson (Johnson Lab) is the latest recipient of the First Paper Award, and his research exemplifies this Shakespearean lesson. Ken just published “Antiherbivore defenses alter natural selection on plant reproductive traits” in Evolution, which is the first lead authored paper from his thesis. His paper provides the first evidence that investment in plant defenses alters natural selection on plant reproductive traits.  Ken’s research uses white clovers as a model for plant defense as they exhibit a Mendelian polymorphism for the production of the poisonous chemical hydrogen cyanide.

Seasonal determinations of algal virus decay rates reveal overwintering in a temperate freshwater pond

4 Apr 2016 - 4:18pm
Algal viruses

Andrew LongThis week we bring you the Long and Short of the Hot Student Paper series – that is Andrew Long (Ph.D. student) and Prof. Steve Short. And this one is of extra significance, because it is the first lead-authored paper from Andrew’s Ph.D. – CONGRATULATIONS! His paper was just published in The ISME Journal and it is entitled “Seasonal determinations of algal virus decay rates reveal overwintering in a temperate freshwater pond”.

Surfing the biomass size spectrum: some remarks on history, theory, and application

21 Mar 2016 - 8:06am
Lauren Barth on a boat

Would it surprise you to know that there is a rigorous theory underlying the observation that in nature big organisms are much rarer than small ones? In a new paper, PhD student Lauren Barth and her advisor Prof. Gary Sprules review much of the research on the Biomass Size Spectrum, a theory of ecosystem structure and function based solely on the body size of organisms that has been a focus of investigation in the Sprules’ lab. Their paper “Surfing the biomass size spectrum: some remarks on history, theory, and application” was recently published in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences.

Identification of the first insulin-like peptide in the disease vector Rhodnius prolixus: Involvement in metabolic homeostasis of lipids and carbohydrates

3 Mar 2016 - 8:34am
Rhodnius prolixus

U of T is famous for the discovery of insulin. This compound and its analogs continues to fuel intrigue, discoveries and innovation at our university, as demonstrated by the recent paper by PDF Dr. Marina Defferrari (Lange Lab) “Identification of the first insulin-like peptide in the disease vector Rhodnius prolixus: Involvement in metabolic homeostasis of lipids and carbohydrates” in the journal Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Marina identified the first insulin-like peptide in the Chagas disease vector Rhodnius prolixus and investigated its involvement in energy homeostasis both in starved and recently fed insects.

Pages