E04: Ted Stankowich on Mammal Weaponry, Aposematic Coloration, and Museum Specimens
Play • 43 min

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Amy speaks with Ted Stankowich (@CSULBMammalLab), an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Biological Sciences at California State University Long Beach.

They start out discussing the ecological conditions that favor extreme morphological traits such as armor and weaponry. Then, they talk about Ted’s research into mammal coloration, including the relationship between skunk stripes and their infamous spraying abilities. We also learn about Ted’s involvement in the Urban Wildlife Information Network (@uwi_network), a collaborative alliance of urban wildlife scientists.

After the break, they discuss using museum collections for teaching, why scientists can benefit from  social media, and Ted’s experience with the tenure process at an R2 institution.

This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from Ummat Somjee (@ummat_s), a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Read Ummat’s paper about the role of metabolic maintenance costs in the positive allometry of sexually selected traits here (video abstract here).

Select Papers:

1. Stankowich, T. & Campbell, L.A. 2016. Living in the danger zone: Exposure to predators and the evolution of spines and body armor in mammals. Evolution 70 (7): 1501-1511.

2. Caro, T., Izzo, A., Reiner, R.C., Walker, H., & Stankowich, T. 2014. The function of zebra stripes. Nature Communications 5: 3535.

3. Fisher, K.A. & Stankowich, T. 2018. Antipredator strategies of striped skunks in response to cues of aerial and terrestrial predators. Animal Behaviour 143: 25-34.

Credits:

The Animal Behavior Podcast is created by Matthew Zipple (@MatthewZipple) and Amy Strauss (@avstrauss). If you like what you heard, please subscribe wherever you’re listening now, leave us a rating or review, and share us with your friends and colleagues.

You can contact us at animalbehaviorpod@gmail.com and find us on Twitter (@AnimalBehavPod).

Our theme song is by Sally Street (@Rainbow_Road13), Assistant Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University in the UK. You can find her on Sound Cloud here: https://soundcloud.com/rainbow_road_music.

Musical transitions by André Gonçalves (@fieryangelsfell), a Researcher at the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University.

Our logo was designed by Adeline Durand-Monteil (@adelinedurandm), a Master’s Student in Ecology and Evolution. You can see more of Adeline's work on her website: https://adelinedurandmonteil.wordpress.com/.

The Animal Behavior Podcast is produced with support from the Animal Behavior Society (@AnimBehSociety).

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