skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1831164

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Sexual and gender minorities face considerable inequities in society, including in science. In biology, course content provides opportunities to challenge harmful preconceptions about what is “natural” while avoiding the notion that anything found in nature is inherently good (the appeal-to-nature fallacy). We provide six principles for instructors to teach sex- and gender-related topics in postsecondary biology in a more inclusive and accurate manner: highlighting biological diversity early, presenting the social and historical context of science, using inclusive language, teaching the iterative process of science, presenting students with a diversity of role models, and developing a classroom culture of respect and inclusion. To illustrate these six principles, we review the many definitions of sex and demonstrate applying the principles to three example topics: sexual reproduction, sex determination or differentiation, and sexual selection. These principles provide a tangible starting place to create more scientifically accurate, engaging, and inclusive classrooms.

  2. Abstract Background and Aims

    Pendulous flowers (due to a flexible pedicel) are a common, convergent trait of hummingbird-pollinated flowers. However, the role of flexible pedicels remains uncertain despite several functional hypotheses. Here we present and test the ‘lever action hypothesis’: flexible pedicels allow pendulous flowers to move upwards from all sides, pushing the stigma and anthers against the underside of the feeding hummingbird regardless of which nectary is being visited.


    To test whether this lever action increased pollination success, we wired emasculated flowers of serpentine columbine, Aquilegia eximia, to prevent levering and compared pollination success of immobilized flowers with emasculated unwired and wire controls.

    Key Results

    Seed set was significantly lower in wire-immobilized flowers than unwired control and wire control flowers. Video analysis of visits to wire-immobilized and unwired flowers demonstrated that birds contacted the stigmas and anthers of immobilized flowers less often than those of flowers with flexible pedicels.


    We conclude that flexible pedicels permit the levering of reproductive structures onto a hovering bird. Hummingbirds, as uniquely large, hovering pollinators, differ from flies or bees which are too small to cause levering of flowers while hovering. Thus, flexible pedicels may be an adaptation to hummingbird pollination, in particular due to hummingbirdmore »size. We further speculate that this mechanism is effective only in radially symmetric flowers; in contrast, zygomorphic hummingbird-pollinated flowers are usually more or less horizontally oriented rather than having pendulous flowers and flexible pedicels.

    « less
  3. Indirect defenses are plant phenotypes that reduce damage by attracting natural enemies of plant pests and pathogens to leaves. Despite their economic and ecological importance, few studies have investigated the genetic underpinnings of indirect defense phenotypes. Here, we present a genome-wide association study of five phenotypes previously determined to increase populations of beneficial (fungivorous and predacious) mites on grape leaves (genus Vitis): leaf bristles, leaf hairs, and the size, density, and depth of leaf domatia. Using a common garden genetic panel of 399 V. vinifera cultivars, we tested for genetic associations of these phenotypes using previously obtained genotyping data from the Vitis9kSNP array. We found one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) significantly associated with domatia density. This SNP (Chr5:1160194) is near two genes of interest: Importin Alpha Isoform 1 (VIT_205s0077g01440), involved in downy mildew resistance, and GATA Transcription Factor 8 (VIT_205s0077g01450), involved in leaf shape development. Our findings are among the first to examine the genomic regions associated with ecologically important plant traits that facilitate interactions with beneficial mites, and suggest promising candidate genes for breeding and genetic editing to increase naturally occurring predator-based defenses in grapevines.
  4. Linking interspecific interactions (e.g., mutualism, competition, predation, parasitism) to macroevolution (evolutionary change on deep timescales) is a key goal in biology. The role of species interactions in shaping macroevolutionary trajectories has been studied for centuries and remains a cutting-edge topic of current research. However, despite its deep historical roots, classic and current approaches to this topic are highly diverse. Here, we combine historical and contemporary perspectives on the study of ecological interactions in macroevolution, synthesizing ideas across eras to build a zoomed-out picture of the big questions at the nexus of ecology and macroevolution. We discuss the trajectory of this important and challenging field, dividing research into work done before the 1970s, research between 1970 and 2005, and work done since 2005. We argue that in response to long-standing questions in paleobiology, evidence accumulated to date has demonstrated that biotic interactions (including mutualism) can influence lineage diversification and trait evolution over macroevolutionary timescales, and we outline major open questions for future research in the field.
  5. Textbooks shape teaching and learning in introductory biology and highlight scientists as potential role models who are responsible for significant discoveries. We explore a potential demographic mismatch between the scientists featured in textbooks and the students who use textbooks to learn core concepts in biology. We conducted a demographic analysis by extracting hundreds of human names from common biology textbooks and assessing the binary gender and race of featured scientists. We found that the most common scientists featured in textbooks are white men. However, women and scientists of colour are increasingly represented in contemporary scientific discoveries. In fact, the proportion of women highlighted in textbooks has increased in lockstep with the proportion of women in the field, indicating that textbooks are matching a changing demographic landscape. Despite these gains, the scientists portrayed in textbooks are not representative of their target audience—the student population. Overall, very few scientists of colour were highlighted, and projections suggest it could take multiple centuries at current rates before we reach inclusive representation. We call upon textbook publishers to expand upon the scientists they highlight to reflect the diverse population of learners in biology.