The Science Seminar Series: Octpober 8, 2009
Integrative Perspectives on Sex and Aggression: One fish, two fish, red fish….black fish
University of Alabama
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Animals must make critical decisions on a minute-by-minute basis. Some of these decisions, such as whether to persist or flee in an aggressive contest, result in pronounced changes in behavioral and endocrine state. Other decisions, such as whether to be male or female, result in wholesale changes in the phenotype. My laboratory focuses on how animals, particularly fish, translate their social environment and individual social experiences into behavioral/phenotypic change. This requires that we tune into neurobiological, endocrine, and physiological substrates that are sensitive to social input or performance in the social milieu. My seminar will begin with an overview of the types of questions we address in my research laboratory at the University of Alabama. I will then focus on what we’ve done to understand how fish utilize social information to drive future decisions regarding reproductive allocation (i.e., whether to be male or female). Lastly, I will present some “hot off the press” findings that implicate the physical environment as essential in generating behavioral and life history variation in a clonal vertebrate, the mangrove killifish.