Close Encounters of the Fishy Kind

Hello readers. Sorry this post is so late in the day. The semester has started and I TA genetics in the fall, which means I am about 100x more busy than I used to be. Today I thought I would bring you another fun fish post.

Fish come in all sorts of amazing colors and shapes. I think that is why I like them so much. Well, today’s feature fish really looks like it is from out of this world. It’s the Barreleye fish, Macropinna microstoma. This fish has a transparent head!!!! And green lensed tubular eyes that have the ability to look straight up and forward!!! And you see them through its transparent head!! This fish lives in the deep ocean, where light is extremely scarce. Their eyes are super sensitive and help these fish detect prey in the dark. When you watch the video, the two little holes above the mouth are actually its nostrils. So, watch this video to see this crazy, awesome fish and keep reminding yourself that this is a real fish!! More info can be found at the link here: http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2009/barreleye/barreleye.html

Fun Fish Fact: Some Fish Change Sex!!

People often argue against homosexuality because they say it isn’t “natural”. However, if you actually go into nature, you will find some pretty crazy stuff happening. One of those crazy things is the switching of sex during the lifetime of an organism. Some species of fish are known to undergo these sex changes during their lifetime, and I thought it would be fun to tell you about them. Continue reading

How many genes?

Alright, so today is the day that I tell you all about my first scientific publication. I hope to explain it in a manner that you can understand with a basic knowledge of biology. Hopefully this post will put me in a good enough mood to work on writing my second paper, which I’m supposed to be doing this week.

Alright, so the goal of my first paper was to answer one question “How many genes causes differences in pigmentation traits?”. I am specifically interested in male pigmentation because 1) Males are more colorful than females when it comes to cichlids and 2) Because male color is thought to be important when it comes to females choosing mates. Continue reading

Fish Vision – Part I: The Evolving View of a “Gene”

This week I finally return to science writing!  To start off, I thought I would write a series of posts to describe and critique my recent paper in BMC Evolutionary Biology, “Divergence in cis-regulatory sequences surrounding the opsin gene arrays of African cichlid fishes.”  (This article is freely available to anyone.  You can view a provisional [e.g., not fancy] version of the paper by clicking here.  Or you can just take my word for it and read this post.)  In this paper, we ask what regions of the cichlid fish genome control the function of genes responsible for vision, and whether any of these regions differ between cichlids that see differently.  Today I’ll talk about the background to this study. Continue reading