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Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes Laboratory
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Updated: July 15, 2018

We are interested in evolutionary ecology, in other words, why organisms do the things that they do. Most of our work focuses on fish reproduction and parental care, though we are interested in all aspects of evolutionary ecology. The lab logo illustrates Tomocichla tuba, a fascinating cichlid fish found in eastern Costa Rica, which I have studied for many years at the La Selva Biological Station and elsewhere in Costa Rica.


Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes Lab blog




Dr. Ron Coleman

Graduate Students

Jamie LeFevre [lichens]
Chad Hirano [native fishes]
Kelsey Montgomery [native fish]
Colleen Moore [tagging]
Hali Rederer [Herring reproduction and eelgrass]
Tom Riley [native fishes]
Kristyn Schulte [ringtail DNA]

Sasha Watkins [Growth Depensation]

Undergraduate Assistants and Research Students

Haya Akkad [Cichlid Fry Project]
Alisha Avila [Cichlid Fry Project]
McKenzie Bell [Cichlid Fry Project]
Breann Benetiz [Cichlid Fry Project]
David Bui [Cichlid Fry Project]
David Cao [Cichlid Fry Project]

Erik Christiansen [Cichlid Fry Project]
Nathan Creswell [Cichlid Fry Project]

Garrett Crowley [Cichlid Fry Project]
Summer DeRobertis [Cichlid Fry Project
Shyla Difuntorum [Cichlid Fry Project]

Rafi Feroz [Cichlid Fry Project
Kristine Giordano [Cichlid Fry Project]
Natalie Flores [McNair Scholar, Parent-Offspring communication; Resident effects and aggression]
Laura Givens [Cichlid Fry Project]
Markus Guerrero [tuba fecundity]
George Harse [Cichlid Fry Project]
Edward Huynh [Cichlid Fry Project]
Matt Imel [Cichlid Fry Project]
Aman Jagait [Cichlid Fry Project]
Julia Konner [Cichlid Fry Project]

Nang Lo [Cichlid Fry Project]
Natalie Miraglia [Cichlid Fry Project]
Pedro Moakhar [Cichlid Fry Project]
Riad Morrar [Cichlid Fry Project]
Nataliya Mudrik [Cichlid Fry Project]
Juan Ortiz [McNair Scholar; cichlid mate choice]
Gurvir Pannu [Cichlid Fry Project]
Lindsey Papile [Cichlid morphometrics]
Macy Petrula [Cichlid Fry Project]
Jerene Pfeiffer [Cichlid Fry Project]
Johnny Richardson [Cichlid Fry Project]

Lai Saechao [Cichlid Fry Project]
Leigh Sanders [Cichlid Fry Project]
Kristyn Schulte [Cichlid morphometrics]
Shawn Simkins [Cichlid Fry Project]
Sanjot Singh [Cichlid Fry Project]
Andrew Stilleke [Cichlid Fry Project]
Kimmy Swafford [Cichlid Fry Project]
Hannah Tjitradjaja [Cichlid Fry Project]

Alan Toscano [Cichlid Fry Project]
Raiyna Villasenor [Cichlid Fry Project]
Team ThinkTank [Jonathan Coffman, George Haith, Joseph Lai, Vasher Lor, Bob Thompson]
Team Lorax [Chris Chan, Gerardo Duran, Victor Huba, Oleksandr Kabanets]
Team 7Figures []

Lance (Teo) Courtney [Water mold]
Team ACTV: Albert Phan, Christian Evangelista, Thomas Yang, Victor Huba [Cichlid Simulator project]

Lab Alumni

Graduate Students Who Have Completed Master's Degrees in the lab

Angela Akens [Competition through predation ability of juvenile apex predator species – Sacramento Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus grandis) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)] May 2018

Farhat Bajjaliya [Morphometric Variation in Adult California Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) between four distinct population segments.] December 2014

Robyn Bilski [The Effects of Structure Enhancement on Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) spawning habitat] December 2008

Bianka Bommarito [Does egg size influence spawning temperature preference in substrate spawning cichlid fishes?] May 2011

Steven Brumbaugh [Can Bayesian Networks be used to prioritize restoration of Chinook salmon spawning habitat in data poor northern California watersheds?] May 2015 pdf

Jeff Changaris [Craniomandibular structure and function in mormoopid bats] Dec 2017

Laura Cholodenko [The role of pesticides, introduced fish, and habitat change in the decline of the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) in California] December 2006

Karen Converse [Genetic Mating System and Territory Inheritance in the Sacramento Valley Red Fox] December 2012

Danielle Delaporte [Effects of Predator Size and Lag Time between Attacks on Parental Care by Female Archocentrus nigrofasciatus]. December 2007.

Lynn Drennan [Female competition and display in kribensis (Pelvicachromis pulcher), a West African cichlid] December 2006

Rob Grasso [Palatability and antipredator response of Yosemite toad (Bufo canorus) to nonnative brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California] December 2005 pdf Word

Lesley Hamamoto [The influence of parental care behavior by convict cichlids on the incidence of oomycete infection of their eggs] May 2010

Erika Holland [Reproductive biochemistry of Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)] May 2008 [completed PhD, UC Davis, 2014]

Nina Kogut [Effect of Delayed Brood development on Parental Defense by Female convict cichlids] May 2005.

Gena Lasko [Straying of late-fall-run Chinook Salmon from the Coleman National Fish Hatchery into the Lower American River, California]

Beth Parvis [Sexual Dimorphism and Size-related Changes in Body Shape in Tule Perch, a Native California Live-bearing Fish] May 2016. pdf

James Phillips [Parental ecology of the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus)] December 2007

Luciana Ramirez [Predation Pressure as a Determinant of Parental Behavior in Neotropical Cichlids] December 2008 Word

Erin Strange [Assessing Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Prey Abundance: The Effects of Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Ocean Fishery Reductions and Related Hatchery Production] May 2016. pdf.

Stephen Stringer [Optimization of hydrostatic pressure treatment to induce triploidy in American River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)] May 2007.

Lissa Thompson [Effects of egg size and temperature on development on mouthbrooding cichlid eggs] December 2004

Martha Volkoff [Stock Identification of Central Valley Chinook Salmon Using Otolith Microstructure] December 2004

Shannon Waters [Effects of Salinity on Reproductive success of Tilapia in the Salton Sea, California]

Dan Worth [Growth and Dispersal of Recently Stocked Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout in the Lake Davis Watershed] December 2010

Undergraduate Students Who Completed Honor's Theses in the lab

Samantha Hilber [Changes in egg size variance and egg number through consecutive spawnings in convict cichlids] May 2005

Bianka Bommarito [Choice of spawning temperature by neotropical cichlids] May 2005

DJ Eichenberger [Effect of diet on egg size in convict cichlids] May 2004

Beth Glidewell [Sexual dimorphism in the convict cichlid] May 2007

Sandy Johnston [] May 2007

Kim Nelson [] May 2007

Graduate Students who went on to other things

Shelly Amrhein [Moved to Dr. Kneitel's lab, then withdrew]

Kasie Barnes [withdrew, Lamprey]

DJ Eichenberger [Moved to Dr. Lancaster's lab, graduated with MS]

Elif Fehm-Sullivan [Moved to Dr. Kneitel's lab, graduated with MS]

Guthrum Purdin [Completed vet school at UC Davis]

AJ Southwell [withdrew, Modeling oceanographic circulation flows in Tomales Bay]

Geoff Teigen [Withdrew, Landscape genetics of tropical frogs]

Undergraduate Assistants and Research Students

Name What they did Where they are now
Richard Aguirre SEE summer research student, working with kribensis Science Education Equity (SEE) office at CSU Sacramento
Brandon Amrhein Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2005  
Marcos Arreola Research Assistant, working on water mold  
Tracy Audisio Cave biology specifically spiders Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, starting PhD program
Autumn Bahlman Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2004  
Anthony Barley Research Student, co-author Worked in the lab of Brad Shafer at UC Davis; completed PhD at Kansas 2014, Postdoc University of Hawaii
Nathan Bell Temperature and aggression  
Allison Berke Research Student, Cichlid eggs and temperature, Summer 2004 Allison got Bachelors' degrees in Math and Biology at MIT, then earned her PhD at UC Berkeley in BioEngineering. Allison is now the Executive Director of the Stanford Cyber Initiative at Stanford Univeristy.
Camelia Bianchi Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2002 Masters student at Washington State University (Vancouver campus) in Environmental Science with Dr. Brian Tissot.
Bianka Bommarito Honor's thesis 2005; Choice of spawning temperature by neotropical cichlids Went on to complete Masters degree in Coleman lab
Sam Borstein Undergraduate Research PhD student at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Fall 2013)
Caitlin Brady Tilapia eggs  
Audrey Burnett Aggression  
Nicolette Canzoneri Research Assistant

Master's in environmental science at Oregon State studying zoos and aquaria

Lizette Castillo Lab Assistant, 2012 undegrad at CSUS
Paul Clerkin Sacramento City College research student Finished undergraduate at Cornell University; now MS student at Moss Landing Marine Labs studying deepsea sharks
Selina Cole Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2008 Works at CalEPA in the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
Erin Crumpley Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2003  
Mark Dendy Bio 199; sculpin behavior; Spring 2006 Interactions between sharks and harbor seals. Mark did his MS degree through the University of Maryland
Angela De Palma Aquatic plants Completed MS at Michigan State University in 2014. Now Aquatic Ecologist with Mountains Restoration Trust, Calabassis, California
Courtney Dietz Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2003; Egg attachment threads of Central American cichlids Completed Masters at Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara (2006)
Anna Doty Lab Assistant summer 2009; Field Assistant in Costa Rica 2009 Completed Master of Science at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Univerisity, South Africa in January 2012, Completed PhD at University of New England (Australia) in 2016. Now PostDoc at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro
Jonathan Edwards biparental care  
DJ Eichenberger Honor's thesis 2004: Diet and Egg size Finished MS with Dr. Winston Lancaster at CSUS
Alison Galvani Undergraduate thesis; collaborator PhD, Oxford University 2002; Miller PostDoctoral Fellow at University of California Berkeley; As of Oct 2004, an Assistant Professor in the Medical School at Yale University. Awarded the American Society of Naturalists Young Investigator's Prize for 2005.
Jasmine Hamilton McNair Scholar, Size asymmetry and aggression California Fish and Wildlife
Liz Hanson Research Assistant, Cichlid fry size and temperature, Spring and Summer 2007 Biology undergraduate at MIT then PhD at Tufts (graduated 2017), now PostDoc at Baylor College of Medicine
Eduardo Hazera OTS REU student, Summer 2009 Eduardo is an undergraduate at Colorado College
Sierra Harris 3D scanning and printing  
Jesse Heckendorf

STAR program; Parental care and temperature

Elementary School Teacher
Samantha Hilber Honor's thesis 2005: Changes in egg size variance and egg number through consecutive spawnings in convict cichlids PhD 2014, from the lab of Dr. Collette St. Mary at the University of Florida
Sandy Johnston Honors program, 2006-2007  
Katie Karpenko Ectotherm Museum Assistant; Group size and aggression  
Cheyene Keniston Hypsophrys nicaraguense tunneling  
Lucinda Kent Field Assistant for California freshwater fishes  
Teresa Kirkpatrick McNair Scholar; Distinguishing male from female convict cichlids  
Michelle Kleine OTS REU student, Summer 2010 Michelle is a graduate of College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine; completed M.S. at Trent University (Fall 2015)
Kelly Klingler OTS REU student, Summer 2009 Kelly is a student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Jamie LeFevre Ectothermic Museum Curatorial Assistant Works at Bureau of Reclamation; In MS program at CSUS
Kristi Lofton Ectothermic Museum Curatorial Assistant  
Stephanie Lopez LSAMP, Nest site selection  
Nick Macias Research on The magical world of crayfish 2011 Completed MS program at University of Southern Georgia
Madeline Majer Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2004 Completed DDS at University of Michigan, and is now a dentist in Roseville.
Morgan Martinez [brood cannibalism]  
Adriana Moncada Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2002; Costa Rican rainforest ecology Now works at the Air Resources Quality Board
Carlos Montanez SEE summer research Student Undergraduate at CSU Sacramento
Kelsey Montgomery Costa Rica 2015; cichlid parental behavior  
Courtney Ray Bio 199; cichlid behavior, Spring 2006    
Jennifer Robinson Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2004  
Gina Rodriguez catfish and parental care  
Taylor Rucker lab assistant  
Sadie St. Lawrence Brood cannibalism Lead Data Scientist at VSP, founder "Women In Data" nonprofit
Kia Seehaufer Individuality in PhD, University of Minnesota
Nathaniel Shanklin Fish aggression and temperature, Summer 2011  
Angelica Sprague Research assistant MS at Fort Hayes State University, Kansas
Preeti Talwai    
Ameer Thompson McNair Scholar; Evolution of eyespots on fishes; Diet and parental investment Ameer started the PhD program at UC Davis, then he moved with his lab to Cornell Medical School, NY where he finished his PhD in fall 2010
Esther Tracy

Field Assistant in Costa Rica, 2013; Research Assistant; [Environmental Education in Costa Rica]

State of California
Taisiya Tvertinova Nicaragua canal  
Sarah van Ruiten NSM SURE award, Summer 2010 in Costa Rica Bayer
Alison Wagner Plecostomus and cichlid parental care  
Sasha Watkins [fecundity of mouthbrooding cichlids] In MS program at CSUS, starting Fall 2015
Alex Webb Undergraduate research Graduate Student Washington State (Fall 2013)
Brian Williams Fish room assistant  
Albert Phan (ACTV)
Christian Evangelista (ACTV)
Thomas Yang (ACTV)



Lab History -- My Academic "Family"

Name Who they are Current activities
Dr. Mart Gross Ron's MSc and PhD Supervisor, University of Toronto Mart Gross Lab of Conservation Biology University of Toronto
Dr. George Barlow Ron's Postdoctorate Supervisor, University of Calfornia, Berkeley Dr. George Barlow Emeritus Professor, UC Berkeley {deceased, 2007}
Dr. Ian Fleming Labmate during graduate school Dr. Ian Fleming Ocean Sciences Center, Memorial University, Newfoundland
Dr. Isabelle Cote Labmate during graduate school Dr. Isabelle Cote's Tropical Marine Ecology Group Professor, Simon Fraser University
Dr. John Reynolds Labmate during graduate school Dr. John Reynolds' Lab Professor, Simon Fraser University

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