The macroevolutionary consequences of island hopping

Natural historians have known for a long time that islands often harbour an extraordinary amount of biodiversity. One reason is that lineages that colonize islands can exploit open ecological niches and therefore diversify along new evolutionary trajectories. So did...

New paper throws doubt on a popular idea

The rock-paper-scissors story of the side-blotched lizards was beautiful. Many lizards have similar colour polymorphism, and quite a few PhD projects and postdoc years have been spent testing the idea in other species. One of the most obvious candidates are wall...

A major blow to the ’plasticity-first’ hypothesis?

Skeletal morphology is a classic candidate for ‘plasticity-led’ evolution. Our new paper in eLife tests the idea that such ‘plasticity-led’ evolution has occurred in the adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards on the Greater Antilles. In her study, Nathalie quantified...

Does evolution go where plasticity leads?

Mary-Jane West-Eberhard famously suggested that plasticity ‘takes the lead’ in adaptive evolution. But how can you tell if you are not there to see it happen? In a new paper in Evolution Letters, we show one way to tackle the problem – here is a quick summary of what...

Transposable elements unleashed

Mobile DNA sequences – transposable elements or TEs for short – are found in the genome of virtually all organisms. As their name implies, TEs can cut or copy themselves from one location in the genome to another. This can wreak havoc as insertion of TEs may interfere...