The lives of migratory birds breeding in Europe and wintering in Africa south of the Sahara are governed by environmental conditions experienced thousands of kilometres apart. In this paper, Marjorie Sorensen cleverly measured isotopes and hormones deposited in growing feathers to track the conditions experienced by Great Reed Warblers en route through Africa. She shows that the rainfall conditions these birds experienced in the Horn of Africa, a staging post between Europe and southern Africa, affect their condition on their main wintering grounds in Zambia… read more in the article by Marjorie Sorensen, Graham Fairhurst, Susanne Jenni-Eiermann, Jason Newton, Elizabeth Yohannes and Claire Spottiswoode, available Open Access in BMC Ecology.
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.