When compared with a solitary strategy of producing offspring who then go on to produce their own offspring, a new Harvard study has found that eusociality is a high-risk, high-reward gamble.
Using simple hydrodynamics, a team of Harvard researchers was able to show that a handful of principles govern how virtually every animal — from the tiniest fish to birds to the largest whales — propel themselves through the water.
A new study conducted by Harvard scientists shows that in deer mice, a species known to be highly promiscuous, sperm clump together to swim in a more linear fashion, increasing their chances of fertilization.
A Harvard program that welcomes high school interns to learn science in the lab often sets them on new academic and career paths.
Five species of giant, long-lived Galapagos tortoises are thought to have gone extinct, but recent DNA analysis shows that some may survive on other islands in the archipelago, according to work by Michael Russello, Harvard Hrdy Fellow in Conservation Biology.
Tim Laman, an associate of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and an award-winning wildlife photographer, was part of a two-man team that helicoptered into a remote Australian rainforest earlier this year, coming out with three new species: two lizards and a frog.
Harvard researchers have solved the nearly 200-year-old mystery of how Rafflesia, the largest flowering plants in the world, develop.
Researchers have long understood that genetics can play a role in susceptibility to cholera, but a team of Harvard scientists is now uncovering evidence of genetic changes that might also help protect some people from contracting the deadly disease.
Spurred by increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, forests over the past two decades have become dramatically more efficient in how they use water, a Harvard study has found.
As part of Professor Gonzalo Giribet’s Biology of Invertebrates class, students make closely observed, highly detailed sketches of animals they study in the lab.
Adam Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, and Hopi Hoekstra, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and molecular and cellular biology, are among the 27 scientists nationwide to be appointed as investigators by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
An organismic and evolutionary biology course this semester has formed a virtual classroom with other universities to examine the holdings of museum collections and the vast amount of data they contain and integrate them into the classroom.
In a new paper, Christopher Marx, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, says that beneficial mutations may occur more often than first thought, but many never emerge as “winners” because they don’t fall within the narrow set of circumstances required for them to dominate a population.
In a new paper, Harvard researchers show that changes in coat color in mice are the result not of a single mutation, but of many mutations, all in a single gene. The results start to answer one of the fundamental questions about evolution: Does it proceed by huge leaps — single mutations that result in dramatic changes in an organism — or is it the result of many smaller changes over time?
Work led by Yun Zhang, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, shows how the pathway of insulin and insulinlike peptides plays a critical role in helping to regulate learning and memory.
Record warmth in 2010 and 2012 resulted in similarly extraordinary spring flowering in the eastern United States — the earliest in the more than 150 years for which data is available— researchers at Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of Wisconsin have found.
Harvard researchers are challenging the popular portrayal of Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers. In a new paper in Science, researchers present evidence that the diseases may be more common — and much older — than previously thought.
Harvard researchers have found that a new investigation of tissues and signaling pathways in finches’ beaks reveals surprising flexibility in the birds’ evolutionary tool kit.
Harvard researchers, captivated by a strange coiling behavior in the grasping tendrils of the cucumber plant, have characterized a new type of spring that is soft when pulled gently and stiff when pulled strongly.
The dramatic diversity of columbine flowers can be explained by a simple change in cell shape. To match the pollinators' probing tongues, the flowers’ cells in floral spurs elongate, driving rapid speciation.
Using genetic tools, researchers at Harvard and collaborating institutions have completed the most comprehensive evolutionary tree ever produced for mollusks. Described in the Nov. 2 issue of Nature, the work also serves as a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the power of genomic techniques to answer difficult evolutionary questions.
Biologists from around the world are on campus this week for an international conference on invertebrate morphology sponsored by the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
Researchers at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum have highlighted female competition among plants, saying it is a new factor that could have driven the mystifying diversity of flowering plants.
An important new finding by Harvard researchers indicates that cellular mutations responsible for an organism’s successful adaptation do not, when combined over time, provide as much benefit as they would individually be expected to provide.
A project details changing levels of mercury in endangered albatrosses and highlights the importance of museum specimens in understanding past conditions.
Michael Canfield, a lecturer on organismic and evolutionary biology, visits an eclectic range of scientific disciplines, offering examples that professional naturalists can emulate to fine-tune their own field methods, along with practical advice that amateur naturalists and students can use to document their adventures.
Scientists are advancing in their understanding of the biology of the deep sea, which still remains largely unexplored and mysterious, according to Associate Professor Peter Girguis.
Only 39 percent of the nearly 10,000 North American plant species threatened with extinction are being maintained in collections, according to the first comprehensive listing of the threatened plant species in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
On February 15, 2001, a decade ago, the first draft sequence and analysis of the human genome—the blue print for a human being—was published in the journal Nature. On the tenth anniversary of that transformative moment, Harvard hosted an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional forum on the genome project’s origins, promise, and significance to society.
Assistant professor Arkhat Abzhanov looks to birds’ relatives by way of dinosaurs — alligators — for clues to their evolution.
William “Ned” Friedman, an evolutionary biologist who has done extensive research on the origin and early evolution of flowering plants, has been appointed director of the Arnold Arboretum.
Researchers discover how fungi developed an aerodynamic way to reduce drag on their spores so as to spread them as high and as far as possible.
Lichens provide an avenue for student scientific exploration of plant complexity.
Biology Professor Anne Pringle is taking the study of one of the world’s most poisonous mushrooms out of the realm of adventure stories and into the world of ecology, in an attempt to better understand how it spreads.
Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Kirsten Bomblies is among 70 new faculty members who are joining the University’s various Schools this year. With the start of the new year, Harvard has hired 41 new assistant professors, six associate professors, and 23 new full professors, and promoted 20 existing faculty members to tenured professor positions.
Since the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” efforts to trace evolutionary relationships among different classes of organisms have largely relied on external morphological observations.
In this 10th anniversary year of the prestigious Harvard College Professorships, five FAS faculty members have been honored for their particularly distinguished contributions to undergraduate teaching, advising, and mentoring.
They might be giants, but many dinosaurs apparently had genomes no larger than those of a modern hummingbird. So say scientists who've linked bone cell and genome size among living species and then used that new understanding to gauge the genome sizes of 31 species of extinct dinosaurs and birds, whose bone cells can be measured from fossilized bones.