Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology News

WUOT: The Method: Bats, Edison and Galactic Opera

WUOT’s The Method is a series that explores the intersection of science and society. How does scientific research affect you and your community? In this installment, Brandon Hollingsworth talks with history professor and author Ernest Freeberg about Thomas Edison’s greatest invention: Modern America. Chrissy Keuper speaks with ecology and evolutionary biology professor Gary McCracken about

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Science: An Emergency Hatch for Baby Lizards

Research by Sean Doody in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology was featured in Science. The research has found that unborn lizards can erupt from their eggs days early if vibrations hint at a threat from a hungry predator, new research shows. The premature hatchlings literally “hit the ground running—they hatch and launch into

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Professor Links Massive Prehistoric Bird Extinction to Humans

Research by Alison Boyer, a research assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an international team studied the extinction rates of nonperching land birds in the Pacific Islands from 700 to 3,500 years ago. Some of the birds studied included birds of prey and ducks. The team uncovered the magnitude of the extinctions and insight into how and why human impacts varied across the region.

Registration Open for Wildflower Pilgrimage

Each year more than six hundred people from more thirty-five states and beyond descend on the Great Smoky Mountains as flowers bloom in almost every shade of the rainbow to explore and enjoy plant and animal life. The five-day exploration of plant and animal life will be held April 23 through 27 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Online registration is now open.

Professor Uses Supercomputing Power to Peer into Protein Translation

Gilchrist, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, is using the power of supercomputers at the National Institute of Computational Sciences (NICS) to help advance our quantitative understanding of the costs and errors associated with protein translation.

Epigenetics Study Receiving International Media Attention

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics. The research is getting media attention worldwide.

Study Finds Epigenetics May Underlie Homosexuality

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at UT say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics—how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches. A working group at NIMBioS used mathematical modeling that found the transmission of sex-specific epi-marks may signal homosexuality.

Professor Discusses Extinction of Tropical Birds at November 9 Science Forum

Alison Boyer

Alison Boyer, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has spent the past ten years studying the endangerment and extinction of Pacific island birds. She’ll be discussing her work at the UT Science Forum on Friday, November 9. The weekly presentations begin at noon on Fridays in room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

TN Vespre: Simberloff Receives Ramon Margalef Ecology Prize

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology professor Daniel Simberloff was officially awarded the Ramon Margalef ecology prize from the government of Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain on October 29. A Spanish news station, “Telenotícies Vespre” covered the awards ceremony, featuring an almost two-minute story on Simberloff.

UT, NIMBioS Study Finds Bullies Squelched When Bystanders Intervene


A new national anti-bullying ad campaign urges parents to teach their kids to speak up if they witness bullying. One UT researcher has found that in humans’ evolutionary past, at least, helping the victim of a bully hastened our species’ movement toward a more egalitarian society.