Topic #7: March 30th & April 6th: Denn Ivanov

SNACKS & Who is Who April 6th: Aurora

Behavior paper:

Pitman, Robert L., and Paul Ensor. "Three forms of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Antarctic waters." Journal of Cetacean Research and Management5, no. 2 (2003): 131-140.

Genomics paper:

Foote, Andrew D., Nagarjun Vijay, María C. Ávila-Arcos, Robin W. Baird, John W. Durban, Matteo Fumagalli, Richard A. Gibbs et al. "Genome-culture coevolution promotes rapid divergence of killer whale ecotypes." Nature communications 7 (2016).


Questions for reading (students must turn in 4 sets throughout semester):

"This paper gets *dense* as far as molecular evolution techniques go, so let’s make another list of terms and techniques you didn’t know.

If there was significant gene flow *between* different sympatric ecotypes, what would you hypothesize this would do to the “culture” of each ecotype? E.g. would they maintain the same ecological niches even though the genetic specializations are less distinct? What implications would this have for culture as an object of the (tired out) “nature vs. nurture” debate?

Figure 3 is kind of hard to pick apart. What is its purpose and what does it do for the overall investigation? 

The authors talk a lot about parallels with the evolution of human ecotypes and culture (see: the example of the Greenland kalaallit people the authors discuss in the first paragraph of the intro) and the value of using these orca as a model system for the biology of culture and social learning. What do you think about this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of sticking with the human model? "