We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2017 ‘Paper of the Year’ award Ian Clifton, Jeremy Chamberlain and Matthew Gifford with their paper entitled ‘Patterns of morphological variation following colonization of a novel prey environment‘. This clever study is taking advantage of a natural experiment where diamond‐backed watersnakes (Nerodia rhombifer) had recently colonized fish farms that are specialized in growing either small- or large-bodied fish, providing an excellent opportunity to investigate the effects of prey size on the evolution of predator feeding morphology. The authors compared body size and cranial morphology in male and female diamond‐backed watersnakes between these different prey environments, and their results revealed that female snakes in the large-prey environment had larger body sizes, demonstrating that prey size can play an important role in shaping predator phenotypes. The editorial board praised this study for addressing an interesting question with a great design and excellent sample sizes. We congratulate Ian, Jeremy and Matthew for winning this award!
Elina Rantanen, Journal of Zoology