A morphological interpretation of traits

Written by: Bjørn Østman

Primary Source: Pleiotropy

Have a look at this short video. Do you think it works?

It is supposed to show that new species form when traits are subject to trade-offs. However, in the actual model, those traits govern resource use, but here they are illustrated as morphological traits: tails, wings, legs, whiskers, ears, and eyes. The traits vary over time, resulting in four different species.

Now that you have watched it, my question is whether the nature of the traits in the model is adequately conveyed? What do you think?

The data is from our new paper, Trade-offs drive resource specialization and the gradual establishment of ecotypes in BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Evolutionary compromises drive diversity (MSU Today)
Compromise is key to evolving new creatures (Futurity)
A Winged Cat Helps Explain The Principle Of Evolutionary Trade-Offs (io9)
Evolutionary compromises drive diversity (Fox 47 News) – See more at: http://pleiotropy.fieldofscience.com/2014/07/a-morphological-interpretation-of-traits.html#sthash.NOk4T3oH.dpuf

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Bjørn Østman
Bjørn Østman is an evolutionary biologist postdoc working in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.
I am interested in many aspects of evolution. I work in computational biology, using various approaches to learn about fundamental processes of evolution. Bioinformatics is good for learning about real genes (data generously supplied by other researchers), and simulations are good for testing the mechanisms of evolution. I am particularly interested in how populations and organisms adapt to changing environments, both at the genetic and phenotypic level. Lately my research has focused on the evolutionary dynamics of populations evolving in rugged fitness landscapes.
Bjørn Østman

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