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Elastic Slingshot Powers Snipefish Feeding

October 30, 2018

The snipefish, an ocean-dwelling relative of the seahorse, has a very long, skinny snout ending in a tiny mouth. A recent study by UC Davis graduate student Sarah Longo shows that snipefish feed with an elastic-boosted head flick at almost unprecedented speed.

“At as little as two milliseconds, it’s among the fastest feeding events ever recorded for fish,” said Longo, now a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University.

Summer Research on the Coast: Scholarship Supports Undergrad Emily Meyers at Bodega Marine Laboratory

September 28, 2018

Thanks to philanthropic support, senior Emily Meyers, an Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity major at UC Davis, was able to conduct research for her senior thesis at the Bodega Marine Laboratory this past summer.  Emily conducts research in the lab of Professor Jay Stachowicz and she studies the biodiversity of invertebrates in seagrass beds, important environments affected by climate change.

Hurricane Study Shows Natural Selection in Lizards

September 11, 2018

As lizards before the hurricane fly: A new study in the journal Nature gives a graphic demonstration of natural selection in action. It’s about Anole lizards living on islands in the Caribbean and how they survived – or not – two violent hurricanes in 2017.

Defend Against Predators or Run? Evolutionary Tradeoffs in Butterflyfish

August 13, 2018
How does a fish avoid being eaten by a bigger fish? Evolution could build up defenses such as spines or armor, or favor avoidance strategies such as quick reactions, swimming away and hiding. The rules of evolution are tough, so you cannot really have both, the argument goes.

Gene Discovery Pushes Back Origins of Insect Sense of Smell

June 11, 2018
Doctoral candidate Philipp Brand, a Population Biology graduate group student, and his colleagues at the University of California, Davis, had just finished compiling the genome, or complete set of genetic material of the firebrat — a tiny wingless, nocturnal insect found throughout much of the world — when something surprised him. There they were–odorant receptor genes, the scent-detecting genes thought to have evolved with winged insects more than 400 million years ago. But this groundbreaking discovery indicates they evolved millions of years earlier.