Department of Biology

Renn Lab

Student Project Ideas

(check back often as new ideas will be added)

These pages include scientific ideas that supplement my own research interests. I provide a short summary and a few references but students are encouraged to propose independent ideas.

  1. Genetic Basis for Maternal Behavior in A. burtoni * (several projects)
  2. Natural vs. Environmental Sex-Role Reversal among Julidochromis species * (several projects)
  3. Identification of Rapidly Evolving Cichlid Genes with hCGH *
  4. Proof of Principle for hCGH using Drosophila melanogaster (related to project 3)
  5. Sex Determination in African Cichlids
  6. Data Imputation with cDNA Microarray Data
  7. Assortitive Mating by Cichlid Populations
  8. Blue fish / Yellow fish
  9. Bioinformatics (several projects available)
  10. Genomic Resources for Cichlids - complete 2006 Robby Kunkle

(* indicates ongoing projects that are a main focus in our research)


Student Project Idea 7

Assortitive Mating by Cichlid Populations

African cichlids have undergone an incredibly rapid radiation. Mate choice is thought to be one factor that has contributed to many speciation events. Individuals of the genus Tropheus have been shown to mate assortitively by color, choosing individuals of their same body color. The species Astatotilapia burtoni is a riverine species which is considered to represent an ancestral morph, more similar to that which has invaded Lake Tanganyika on multiple occasions. We have collected A. burtoni populations from 4 distinct populations around the lake. One from the southern end of the lake near the villiage of Kapata, one from above the spectacular Kalambo falls, one from a River in Tanzania, and one from farther North in Burundi. Will these individuals prefer to mate within their own population or with individuals that are geneticaly distinct?


Aspects of the Project:

Breed wild caught animals to build a stock of F1 animals from each population

Test these F1 for mate choice using micorsatalite DNA analysis for conclusive evidence of mating.