Exciting news for us is that our Memorandum of Understanding between Copperbelt University (in Kitwe, Zambia), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa) was signed by our respective heads of department. This MoU sets out our commitment to continue the very positive communication and cooperation that has developed between our research team and Copperbelt University’s Department of Zoology and Aquatic Science, headed by Dr Lackson Chama, an ecologist, ornithologist and good friend of our project. The photo shows Lackson and Claire visiting Stellenbosch University in 2014.
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.