Smithsonian Scientist Seabird McKeon ’99 – The Role of Ecology in Evolutionary Changes

Seabird McKeon ’99, post doctoral scientist at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Seabird McKeon ’99 recently co-authored a study of the reproductive strategies of poison frogs. His research is summarized in Smithsonian Seriously Amazing. By studying the behavior and habits of poison frogs through the reproductive cycle, McKeon has noted larger forces at work:

“…complex predator-prey relationships may have played a role in selecting the ideal habitat for tadpoles and influenced many species of poison frogs to move their progeny from the ground into the trees. In addition, the scientists demonstrated that studying the natural history of modern species can inform the understanding of evolutionary changes in behavior.” (Italics added).

Seabird followed his scientific inquiry from Evergreen to graduate school at the University of Florida to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Fla. His study, Predator Driven Reproductive Behavior in a Tropical Frog was published in Evolutionary Ecology, July 2013, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 725-737.

Human parents may identify with this notation from the Smithsonian’s summary: “…scientists have studied the compromises inherent in reproduction strategies, including where and why species select certain areas over others to reproduce and raise their young in. ”

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