Critical Review: The Origin of Cancer Robustness and Evolvability

This article, one of the most highly viewed and downloaded articles among Royal Society publications  in the past month, challenges our approaches to cancer which have failed to achieved expected improvements in dieases outcomes.   The authors suggest that a better understanding of underlying tumor robustness might lead to more successful research directions.

Species Loss Tied to Ecosystem Collapse and Recovery

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2011) — Geologists at Brown University and the University of Washington have a cautionary tale: Lose enough species in the oceans, and the entire ecosystem could collapse. Looking at two of the greatest mass extinctions in Earth’s history, the scientists attribute the ecosystems’ collapse to a loss in the variety of species sharing the same space. It took up to 10 million years after the mass extinctions for the ecosystem to stabilize.

The world’s oceans are under siege. Conservation biologists regularly note the precipitous decline of key species, such as cod, bluefin tuna, swordfish and sharks. Lose enough of these top-line predators (among other species), and the fear is that the oceanic web of life may collapse.

In a new paper in Geology, researchers at Brown University and the University of Washington used a group of marine creatures similar to today’s nautilus to examine the collapse of marine ecosystems that coincided with two of the greatest mass extinctions in the Earth’s history. They attribute the ecosystems’ collapse to a loss of enough species occupying the same space in the oceans, called “ecological redundancy.”

The research appears in Geology 2011   39(2):99.  Request a copy from Markus Library.

Recommended Readings: Daniel Kronauer Ph.D. March 8 2010

Monday Lecture Series

The Birth, Life and Death of an Army Ant Superorganism

Daniel Kronauer, Ph.D.,

Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

March 8, 2010

Welch Hall,  Level Two

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m

Recommended Readings:

Kronauer DJC, Schoning C, d’Ettorre P, et al.   2010.  Colony fusion and worker reproduction after queen loss in army ants. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 277(1682):755-763

Tarapore D, Floreano D, Keller L.   2010.   Task-dependent influence of genetic architecture and mating frequency on division of labour in social insect societies. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY 64(4):675-684

Kronauer DJC.   2009.   Recent advances in army ant biology (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) . MYRMECOLOGICAL NEWS 12:51-65

Powell S.    2009.   How ecology shapes caste evolution: linking resource use, morphology, performance and fitness in a superorganism. JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY   22(5):1004-1013

Berghoff SM, Kronauer DJC, Edwards KJ, et al.  2008. Dispersal and population structure of a New World predator, the army ant Eciton burchellii. JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 21(4):1125-1132

Kronauer DJC, Berghoff SM, Powell S, et al.  2006.   A reassessment of the mating system characteristics of the army ant Eciton burchellii. NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN 93(8):402-406

Kronauer DJC, Johnson RA, Boomsma JJ.   2007.  The evolution of multiple mating in army ants. EVOLUTION 61(2):413-422

Kronauer DJC, Schoning C, Pedersen JS, et al.  2004.  Extreme queen-mating frequency and colony fission in African army ants.  MOLECULAR ECOLOGY 13(8):2381-2388      Request full article from Markus Library.