Life histories of success!

So many baby starlings! Photo from Wikimedia Commons by Eileen Coles.

It is the favorite past time of every invasion biologist since H. G. Baker in the 1960s to make lists of traits which distinguish invaders. We’ve been doing it for at least 50 years, and yet, no list ever seems to satisfy. There are always exceptions – a majority of cases seem to be exceptions, really. And maybe that’s because we need to think about it in more dimensions.

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Chicha from the great beyond

The basic recipe for beer goes something like this.You take starch from a cereal grain (the fruit of a domesticated species of Poaceae, or Grass family), use enzymes to convert that starch into sugar, feed the sugar to a microbe capable of fermentation (such as a yeast or bacteria), which then poops out alcohol and carbon dioxide. It’s a beautiful process. You see the barley – brewer’s yeast – hops combo all the time. But why be so predictable?

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