Hot Student Papers

Variation in herbivory along a latitudinal gradient for native and exotic Asteraceae

22 Apr 2016 - 11:35am
insect on Asteraceae

The Great White North, it maybe be cold, but at least it is safe if you are a native to these parts. This is the conclusion explaining the susceptibility of plants to herbivores as detailed in Ph.D. student Krystal Nunes’ FIRST PAPER, which was also coauthored by former M.Sc. student Colin Cassin (Kotanen Lab). Krystal and Colin’s results appeared in their paper “Variation in herbivory along a latitudinal gradient for native and exotic Asteraceae” published in Plant Ecology. In this paper, they tested how widely applicable the well-established hypothesis is that biotic interactions, including herbivory, are more intense at lower latitudes.

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.

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