that does warrant a bit of a giggle...... I thought I understood the word
plastic and took the context to mean variable. So I looked in the
dictionary. Yes that is there - sort of..... Still I think more there to look
clever, even though, as you say, it is not....... Whether those words are
from the authors or someone along the lines - editors, referees, well I
wouldn't know, but it is possible.
Well said David & John. Some years ago, I ceased subscription to a well
known bird journal, when I continually found myself bogged in the
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 9:22 AM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Feeney and Langmore on Campbell Park
research on wrens and cuckoos
for your translation David. I think I now understand what Feeney and Langmore
were trying to convey. Their abstract suggests that the paper is one that, for
the general reader, will be half read and a quarter
Sent: Wednesday, 8 April 2015
To: Robin Hide;
[canberrabirds] Feeney and Langmore on Campbell Park research on wrens and
I'm sure the
work is fine, but reading such an abstract it is clear to me what gives so much
modern science a bad name.
example, why don't we have a competition to replace '...have a plastic
defense portfolio that can be acquired rapidly and deployed facultatively'
with something that approaches what one might call English! The
military would have been proud of those words, these are fairy wrens!
about '...wrens can quickly and flexibly change their behaviour to defend
their nests from Cuckoos' .
I am sure
others can do better.
On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 7:33 AM, Robin Hide <>
This new paper reporting Campbell Park research may be of
interest to some list members-
Feeney, William. E. and Naomi E. Langmore (2015). “Superb
Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) increase vigilance near their nest with the
perceived risk of brood parasitism.” The Auk 132(2):
Abstract: Brood parasites typically impose costs on their
hosts, which select for host defenses. However, where defenses are costly, hosts
can benefit by facultative _expression_ of defenses in relation to the risk of
parasitism. The results of our model-presentation experiments show that Superb
Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) mediate vigilance around their nest
according to their perceived risk of brood parasitism; when the risk of
parasitism is high, they increase the time they spend in the vicinity of their
nests. In combination with previous studies, these data suggest that Superb
Fairy-wrens have a plastic defense portfolio that can be acquired rapidly and
deployed facultatively to prevent parasitism while minimizing wasteful
investment in defenses in the absence of parasitism.
William E. Feeney1,2* and Naomi E. Langmore1
1Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology,
The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
2Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University
of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom