Although an attractive fish for aquariums, when West African Jewel Cichlids invade the ecosystems in Northern Mexico, they can cause havoc. Ms. Laura Dugan describes her research on this invasive fish, and how she is trying to determine the impacts of the species’ competition with natives and factors for their distribution and spread.
Ms. Dugan, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, also talked about her lab experiments into the temperature profile of the fish, including their:
- Thermal range (determined as 14-40 degrees Celsius)
- Temperature preference (reviewing the results now)
- Optimal temperature for growth (will be researching soon)
She is also researching the competition between this invasive fish and native fish that live in northern Mexico too. She will weigh the fish before and after the experiments to see if they grew.
Thanks for talking with me Ms. Dugan and for helping me make my first video about invasive fish. I also found your blog talking about your past research.
Science Under the Stars
I had a chance to talk with Ms. Dugan about her research when I attended this month’s Science Under the Stars talk at the UT Austin Brackenridge Field Laboratory.
I learned about Science Under the Stars in May 2011 when I entered my very first science video as part of their video contest. I won first place (yea!), and they gave me a fantastic navy blue shirt (thanks!) with their logo and a fire ant (invasive!) carrying off the state of Texas.
Before this month’s talk, they had a neat activity to help you learn about Charles Darwin’s Finches. They showed plates with different foods, such as rice, beans, and chocolate covered walnuts, and they also had different tweezers and tongs. They showed how the finches developed very specialized beaks (the utensils) to pick up the different sized food.
Conflict Avoidance: How NOT Competing Can Be The Ticket to Success
For the March 2012 Science Under the Stars talk, Ms. Genevieve Smith, a graduate student with UT Austin-Integrative Biology, gave a great presentation.
She gave a lot of examples and talked about many scientists, including one who observed a lot of different species of birds that lived in a tree. He found that the different species lived in different parts of the tree and avoided conflict with each other.