Two of our team currently undertaking MSc research on interactions between African Cuckoos and their Fork-tailed Drongo hosts in Zambia have just been awarded PhD studentships to carry out their PhDs at the University of Cambridge – congratulations Mairenn Attwood and Jess Lund! And huge thanks to NERC for Mairenn’s DTP C-CLEAR studentship, and to the Department of Zoology, Cambridge, for Jess’s John Stanley Gardiner studentship.
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.