Professor researches pupfish behavior

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Sean Lema, Ph.D., discusses phenotypic plasticity of pupfish in different environments among the several pupfish species in Death Valley. (Robert Huskey / Daily Titan)
Sean Lema, Ph.D., discusses phenotypic plasticity of pupfish in different environments among the several pupfish species in Death Valley. (Robert Huskey / Daily Titan)

A biology professor from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo spoke on his research about the behavior and flexibility of pupfishes, a small sized fish species in the Death Valley region of California and Nevada, in McCarthy Hall on Wednesday.

Sean Lema, Ph.D., discussed “phenotypic plasticity,” which is the flexibility of pupfishes to show different structure in different environments among the several species of pupfishes in Death Valley.

Lema said the two main goals of the pupfish research is to better understand how organisms are connected to their environment in an effort to comprehend how species change over time, while also helping to conserve the many imperiled pupfishes that evolved in deserts.

“The other thing is receptors,” said Lema. “We are trying to understand more of this system and how you can couple and decouple these different traits in evolutionary context and in plasticity context, that are regulated by the same hormone by looking at different ABT receptor regulations.”

Lema said his interest in pupfishes developed when he would take camping trips to Death Valley

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