New paper – shiny bugs show negative intersexual genetic correlation in colour

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I couldn’t use this image on the journal cover so I will use it here. New paper just out looking at the heritability of iridescent colour in hibiscus harlequin bugs. The seeds of this were sown back when I was in Australia and it’s really nice to see it out. Find it at the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

More funding success

More good news from the Evolution in Action project. We received EUR 96,000 of funding from Tieteen Tiedotus Ry (i.e. the Finnish Science Information Bureau)!  We will use this money make our workshop materials available for everyone and work with artists Tiina Hirvonen and Michaela Casková to develop new tools and methods to teach evolution in primary and secondary schools.

For more details in Finnish see here.

New warning signal review

What do you get when you combine seven early career researchers, an excellent workshop, one too many beers and far too many skype meetings? A review paper 2 years in the making!

Diversity in warning coloration: selective paradox or the norm? is now out in Biological Reviews. In it we discuss the causes of variation in warning signals, and get carried away with our literature review…

 

Iridescent Bugs

I’m currently in Australia(!) and will be here for the next 4 months on an Endeavour Fellowship, working on the ecological and genetic basis of colour variation in Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs (Tectocoris diophthalmus). I’m based at Macquarie University in Sydney, working with Mariella Herberstein and Kate Umbers.

 

Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs have contrasting pattern made up of orange colouration and iridescent blue patches that vary considerably in size between individuals and populations. Northern populations have far less blue colouration, and may even be completely orange. Furthermore this variation has been shown to influence survival against different types of predators. My work will focus on the causes of this variation, both within and between populations.

Return to Konnevesi

Winter is finally over in Finland (although you wouldn’t always guess it from the weather) so the bird population in Konnevesi can once again relax and get on with the important things, like having babies.

Last year I posted a rather morose description of our struggles to catch enough birds following two bad breeding seasons. I’m happy to report that we did in fact get a decent season in 2016, in fact midsummer was actually sunny! As a result catching was much easier this winter.

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Exhibit A – a slightly blurry Willow tit 

But the joy is somewhat short-lived as this May has been one of the coldest on record. I won’t actually be working with the birds this coming winter (I’m off to warmer climes) but I hope this cold weather hasn’t hit them too hard…