Nature’s Palette: How and Why Color Varies in the Wild
In nature, animals vary tremendously in their color and color pattern. But, why? And, how?
Whether it’s the brilliant blue wings of a butterfly, the charismatic stripes of a zebra, or the camouflaging fur of a rodent scurrying in the underbrush, animals display color in vastly different ways. And, color can serve many purposes – to conceal, warn, intimidate or attract.
For the last two decades, Hopi Hoekstra has been tackling the question of how and why animals vary in color with experiments both in the laboratory and in the field, using as a model what she refers to as charismatic minifauna (i.e. mice). But, much of what she has learned in mice can be applied to other mammals, including humans. Here, Hoekstra will discuss the many ways that color is made, used and perceived by animals – and how this diversity testifies to the power, elegance and ingenuity of natural selection.
Hopi Hoekstra received her B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. She completed her Ph.D. in 2000 as a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. She then moved to the University of Arizona as a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow where she studied the genetic basis of adaptive melanism in pocket mice. In 2003, she became an Assistant Professor at UC San Diego. 2006, she moved to Harvard University, where she is currently the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in the Departments of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and Molecular & Cellular Biology, the Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Comparative Zoology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. She is broadly interested in the genetic basis of adaptation – from morphology to behavior – in vertebrates, primarily wild mice. Hopi Hoekstra is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
Die Ernst Mayr Lecture findet in Kooperation zwischen der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und dem Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin statt.
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