We were very happy to welcome Dr Lackson Chama, from the Department of Zoology and Aquatic Sciences at Copperbelt University in Zambia, on a four-day visit to the University of Cape Town. Lackson gave seminars at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute and at Stellenbosch University on his research on the ecology of avian frugivory, and met with prospective research collaborators, already resulting in some exciting plans for joint work. We’re extremely grateful for Lackson’s kind help in facilitating our continued research in Zambia.
Our paper ‘Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry’ has been published in the journal Evolution. This perspectives paper, written by Tanmay Dixit, Eleanor Caves, Claire Spottiswoode, and Nicholas Horrocks, argues that Weber’s Law of proportional processing can lead to otherwise counterintuitive predictions about the evolutionary trajectories of mimicry systems. Weber’s Law states that when the magnitude of a stimulus is large, it is more difficult to discriminate a change or difference from that stimulus. In other words, relative differences are more salient than absolute differences. We show that Weber’s Law could have implications for mimicry: when stimulus magnitudes are high, it should be more difficult to discriminate a model from a mimic. This leads to testable predictions about evolutionary trajectories of models and mimics. We also present a framework for testing Weber’s Law and its implications for coevolution.