Joshua S. Weitz

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We examine the scaling law B is proportional to M(alpha)which connects organismal resting metabolic rate B with organismal mass M, where alpha is commonly held to be 3/4. Since simple dimensional analysis suggests alpha = 2/3, we consider this to be a null hypothesis testable by empirical studies. We re-analyse data sets for mammals and birds compiled by(More)
The development of effective environmental shotgun sequence binning methods remains an ongoing challenge in algorithmic analysis of metagenomic data. While previous methods have focused primarily on supervised learning involving extrinsic data, a first-principles statistical model combined with a self-training fitting method has not yet been developed. We(More)
The processes responsible for the evolution of key innovations, whereby lineages acquire qualitatively new functions that expand their ecological opportunities, remain poorly understood. We examined how a virus, bacteriophage λ, evolved to infect its host, Escherichia coli, through a novel pathway. Natural selection promoted the fixation of mutations in the(More)
Bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophages) coexist in natural environments forming complex infection networks. Recent empirical findings suggest that phage-bacteria infection networks often possess a nested structure such that there is a hierarchical relationship among who can infect whom. Here we consider how nested infection networks may affect phage and(More)
Quantifying diversity is of central importance for the study of structure, function and evolution of microbial communities. The estimation of microbial diversity has received renewed attention with the advent of large-scale metagenomic studies. Here, we consider what the diversity observed in a sample tells us about the diversity of the community being(More)
The ability to nondestructively image and automatically phenotype complex root systems, like those of rice (Oryza sativa), is fundamental to identifying genes underlying root system architecture (RSA). Although root systems are central to plant fitness, identifying genes responsible for RSA remains an underexplored opportunity for crop improvement. Here we(More)
The CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) system is a recently discovered type of adaptive immune defense in bacteria and archaea that functions via directed incorporation of viral and plasmid DNA into host genomes. Here, we introduce a multiscale model of dynamic coevolution between hosts and viruses in an ecological context(More)
Characterizing root system architecture (RSA) is essential to understanding the development and function of vascular plants. Identifying RSA-associated genes also represents an underexplored opportunity for crop improvement. Software tools are needed to accelerate the pace at which quantitative traits of RSA are estimated from images of root networks. We(More)
Theoretical models for allometric relationships between organismal form and function are typically tested by comparing a single predicted relationship with empirical data. Several prominent models, however, predict more than one allometric relationship, and comparisons among alternative models have not taken this into account. Here we evaluate several(More)
We propose a stochastic model of aging to explain deviations from exponential growth in mortality rates commonly observed in empirical studies. Mortality rate plateaus are explained as a generic consequence of considering death in terms of first passage times for processes undergoing a random walk with drift. Simulations of populations with age-dependent(More)