Fish Research

In 1990 Diane Hack, a student in the Vertebrate Zoology course, did a class project about the effects of nutrition on egg production in fathead minnows, a native Kansas fish. She noted that female minnows laid most of their eggs for one of several males in each aquarium. The male then provided all subsequent parental care. This intrigued me because mate selection is a hot' topic in the discipline of animal behavior. Factors affecting a female's choice of mate have received little attention, so Diane and I set about studying this phenomenon in the fathead minnows. Ultimately 4 students participated in directed research on this project (BI395/396 Research in Biology): Diane Hack, Rachel Polednak, John Rippetoe, and Gary Welcher. Diane and Rachel were co-authors on a paper presented at the 1993 Animal Behavior Society Meeting. Our findings indicate that females prefer to spawn for dominant males. Gary and I began investigating whether dominant males might be preferred because they had higher egg survival rates (perhaps their status makes them better able to protect eggs).

© 2001 by Lee Boyd
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