Hot Student Papers

A comprehensive evaluation of Daphnia pulex foraging energetics and the influence of spatially heterogeneous food

13 Aug 2018 - 1:04pm
experimental set-up

In a new paper in Inland Waters, recent PhD graduate Audrey Reid (Sprules Lab), examined how energy expended in finding and consuming algae varies with energy gained in spatially dynamic habitats. Audrey measured of the costs and benefits to Daphnia grazing across a range of algal concentrations. Her paper shows that costs did not rise with algal abundance but benefits did thus explaining why Daphnia seek algal patches in nature.

Congrats to Audrey!

Modern spandrels: the roles of genetic drift, gene flow and natural selection in the evolution of parallel clines

30 Jul 2018 - 10:56am
graph showing changes in the frequency of the cyanogenic phenotype (HCN) with changes in the frequency of either dominant allele (i.e. CYP79D15 or Li)

In a new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society (Series B), James Santangelo (Johnson & Ness Labs), modelled how selection, genetic drift and demography interact to drive evolution of traits that are controlled by multiple interacting genes. He found that genetic drift was sufficient to cause consistent directional change in trait frequencies, but the addition of natural selection increased the change in trait frequencies. This paper was published in a special feature in the journal on urban evolution, which James also co-edited.

Congrats to James on his first paper as a graduate student!

The effects of plant sexual system and latitude on resistance to herbivores

17 Jul 2018 - 8:55am
The geographical distribution of monoecious, dioecious, and subdioecious populations of Sagittaria latifolia

In a new paper in the The American Journal of Botany, Ruth Rivkin (Johnson Lab) tested how latitude, plant sexual system, and gender influence the strength of plant-herbivore interactions. She found that herbivores were most abundant on female plants and in dioecious (both male and female plants) populations, and that this trend was strongest in the south.

This is the first paper from Ruth’s ongoing PhD - congrats!

Cranial and postcranial anatomy of Cacops morrisi, a eucacopine dissorophid from the early Permian of Oklahoma

24 Apr 2018 - 7:19am
Line drawing of the new referred specimen of Cacops morrisi (OMNH 73206) in dorsal profile

In a new paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Bryan Gee (Reisz Lab) describes three new immaculate specimens of an early Permian armoured temnospondyl (~amphibian), Cacops morrisi. The new specimens provide important data on developmental changes of the skull, as well as the first description of the postcranial skeleton (shoulder, forelimb backbone, etc.) of this taxon. With the addition of the new data, C. morrisi is arguably the best-known member of its clade and provides an important foundation for understanding the evolution in early amphibians on land.

Congrats to Bryan!

Canopy cover affects habitat selection by adult dragonflies

10 Apr 2018 - 2:19pm
diagram showing adult dragonfly habitat selection

In a new paper in Hydrobiologia, Sarah French (McCauley lab) examined whether habitat choices made by adult dragonflies, and how their aquatic offspring respond determines where dragonflies are found. They observed dragonflies’ responses to open and closed canopy cover at experimental aquatic habitats. Closed canopy cover reduced the number of adult dragonflies arriving at these habitats, but not the survival of larval dragonflies. Habitat selection behaviour by adults therefore plays a major role in shaping larval distributions.

Congrats to Sarah on her first paper from her work here at UTM!