Latest National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis Stories

Altruism Or Manipulated Helping?
2013-08-19 09:32:30

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) Manipulation is often thought of as morally repugnant, but it might be responsible for the evolutionary origins of some helpful or altruistic behavior, according to a new study. In evolutionary biology, manipulation occurs when an individual, the manipulator, alters the behavior of another individual in ways that is beneficial to the manipulator but may be detrimental to the manipulated individual. Manipulation not...

Chronic Harvesting Threatening Tropical Tree
2013-08-05 09:04:38

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) Chronic harvesting of a tropical tree that many local communities in Western Africa depend on can alter the tree's reproduction and drastically curtail fruit and seed yields over the tree's lifetime, according to a new study. The study, which appears today in the Journal of Ecology, is the first of its kind to use what's called "age-from-stage" mathematical modeling, a way of estimating plant age from its size, to...

Females Choose Biological Fitness Over Other Traits In Mating Game
2013-06-20 10:46:19

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis When a new species emerges following adaptive changes to its local environment, the process of choosing a mate can help protect the new species' genetic identity and increase the likelihood of its survival. But of the many observable traits in a potential mate, which particular traits does a female tend to prefer? A new study from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis finds that a female's mating...

2012-05-28 19:26:11

Faithful females who choose good providers key to evolutionary shift to modern family, study finds In early human evolution, when faithful females began to choose good providers as mates, pair-bonding replaced promiscuity, laying the foundation for the emergence of the institution of the modern family, a new study finds. The study helps answer long-standing questions in evolutionary biology about how the modern family, characterized by intense, social attachments with exclusive mates,...

2012-03-05 13:09:51

New mathematical model explains how hosts survive parasite attacks In nature, how do host species survive parasite attacks? This has not been well understood, until now. A new mathematical model shows that when a host and its parasite each have multiple traits governing their interaction, the host has a unique evolutionary advantage that helps it survive. The results are important because they might help explain how humans as well as plants and animals evolve to withstand parasite...

2011-01-19 23:44:56

The instability of large, complex societies is a predictable phenomenon, according to a new mathematical model that explores the emergence of early human societies via warfare. Capturing hundreds of years of human history, the model reveals the dynamical nature of societies, which can be difficult to uncover in archaeological data. The research, led Sergey Gavrilets, associate director for scientific activities at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and a...

2010-12-08 15:00:02

When two individuals face off in conflict, the classic problem in evolutionary biology known as the prisoner's dilemma says that the individuals are not likely to cooperate even if it is in their best interests to do so. But a new study suggests that with incentives to cooperate, natural selection can minimize conflict, changing the game from one of pure conflict to one of partial cooperation. The findings, published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that the...

2010-05-14 09:36:19

A new commentary on the nature of pathogens is raising startling new questions about the role that fundamental science research on evolution plays in the understanding of emerging disease. Ecological speciation, and specifically speciation that occurs when a subset of a population shifts onto a novel host, is one of the main routes for the emergence of new fungal diseases in plants, argue the authors of a new paper published online in Trends in Ecology & Evolution (TREE). Linking emerging...

2010-04-15 06:53:54

Separate species that live in radically different environments don't necessarily also have different ecological niches. This is the finding of a study investigating the accuracy of current statistical tests that use models of geographic distributions to infer changes in environmental requirements. In a new study published in the journal Systematic Biology, a model simulating the distributions of two imaginary species with identical environmental requirements, or ecological niches, was...

Word of the Day
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.