Guppy Project News
After over a year sidelined by Covid-19, the Guppy Project is back in action and seeking interns to participate in our long-term research in Trinidad, W.I. Please pass this along to anyone you think might be interested.
Research Internships – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Research interns are needed to assist in a multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator, experimental study of the evolution of species interactions in Trinidad, West Indies. The research is led by Professors David Reznick (University of California, Riverside), Joseph Travis (Florida State University), Tim Coulson (University of Oxford), and Ron Bassar (Williams College). We seek to integrate multiple biological fields for the study of these interactions in experimental populations of guppies and killifish in Trinidad. Duties include assisting in monthly censuses of guppy populations in montane streams. The monthly censuses include long hours in the field and laboratory. There will also be 12 days off between each census when interns can pursue an independent project.
Interns will be required to spend a minimum of 3-months in Trinidad, with possibility of extension. There are potential start dates in September 2021 and every month thereafter until September 2024. We will cover all travel and living expenses and provide housing.
Qualifications: We seek interns who are entertaining the possibility of pursuing graduate studies in some area of ecology and evolution and who wish to gain some additional field research experience before doing so. Research will take place in semi-remote areas of Trinidad sometimes under bad weather conditions. Applicants must be able to live and work well with others. Research will involve carrying heavy packs over slippery and steep terrain. Applicants must be in good physical condition and be able to meet the demands of field research under these conditions. Ability to drive a standard transmission vehicle is desirable but not required. Applicants with first-aid/first responder training, skills in automobile maintenance, and construction skills are highly desirable. Please address these skills when applying.
Please see our website <www.theguppyproject.weebly.com> for more information on the project and access to reprints. Be sure to check out our video menu, which includes a “guppy censuses” as submenu VII. It details the main tasks associated with the internship.
Applicants should send cover letter, CV and the names and e-mail addresses of three or more professional references to David Reznick (firstname.lastname@example.org). At least two of the references should be academics.
6/14/2021 1 Comment
We are seeking a postdoctoral scientist to work with us on a newly funded award from the National Science Foundation on the ecological interactions between Trinidadian guppies and Hart’s killifish. The project is focused on how these two species coexist when differences in competitive ability and other factors suggest that they should not. We are investigating the roles of temporal and spatial storage effects and other fluctuation-dependent mechanisms for coexistence. In particular, we are asking if the relative importance of fluctuation-independent and fluctuation-dependent mechanisms changes as each species evolves in response to the other.
This work continues our long-term studies of ecology and evolution in the Trinidadian guppy, including close study of population and evolutionary dynamics in four experimental streams, which we began in 2008. The entire project is described at our website: https://theguppyproject.weebly.com.
The responsibilities of the postdoctoral scientist will include participating in monthly mark-recapture of guppies and killifish in four experimental communities in Trinidad, leading the execution of mesocosm experiments in Trinidad, leading the collection and preparation of tissue samples for stable isotope studies of each species’ trophic niche, analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts.
The postdoctoral scientist will be headquartered at Florida State University but will expected to spend the majority of her/his/their time in Trinidad. There will be opportunities to spend time with the principal investigators at Florida State University (J. Travis), Williams College (R. Bassar), University of California-Riverside (D. Reznick), and University of Oxford (T. Coulson).
The successful applicant must have a Ph.D. awarded by September 2021, prior experience with field work in ecology or evolutionary biology, not necessarily in the tropics, be able to conduct the field work in the demanding habitat and climate of tropical Trinidad, and be comfortable with a group living situation in rural Trinidad. The successful applicant must also be skilled in data curation and statistical analyses.
The award from the National Science Foundation provides three years of funding. The starting salary will be $47,659, with provision for annual cost-of-living increases.
Questions about the position and initial inquiries from individuals interested in the position should be sent to Joseph Travis (email@example.com). Formal applications can be made at http://jobs.fsu.edu as soon as the appropriate job number is assigned and posted. The position will be filled as soon as practical.
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OPS employees are covered under the Affordable Care Act. OPS employees that meet certain criteria will be offered other health care coverage. For more information, please visit the following website regarding the Affordable Care Act, http://hr.fsu.edu/?page=benefites/insurance/insurance_home&ops=1.
Tobacco Free Campus
Effective January 1, 2014, tobacco use, including simulated tobacco use, is prohibited on property, interior and exterior, owned or managed by Florida State University. This policy applies to all Florida State University students, employees, consultants, contractors, visitors, and external individuals.
FSU is an Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer.
FSU’s Equal Opportunity Statement can be viewed at: http://www.hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Publications/diversity/EEO_Statement.pdf
Criminal Background Check
This position requires successful completion of a criminal history background check, to include fingerprinting. The background check will be conducted as authorized and in accordance with Florida State University Policy 4-OPC- 7-B11.
12/30/2020 0 Comments
You can access the paper here.
Detecting contemporary evolution requires demonstrating that genetic change has occurred. Mixed effects models allow estimation of quantitative genetic parameters and are widely used to study evolution in wild populations. However, predictions of evolution based on these parameters frequently fail to match observations. Here, we applied three commonly used quantitative genetic approaches to predict the evolution of size at maturity in a wild population of Trinidadian guppies. Crucially, we tested our predictions against evolutionary change observed in common-garden experiments performed on samples from the same population. We show that standard quantitative genetic models underestimated or failed to detect the cryptic evolution of this trait as demonstrated by the common-garden experiments. The models failed because (1) size at maturity and fitness both decreased with increases in population density, (2) offspring experienced higher population densities than their parents, and (3) selection on size was strongest at high densities. When we accounted for environmental change, predictions better matched observations in the common-garden experiments, although substantial uncertainty remained. Our results demonstrate that predictions of evolution are unreliable if environmental change is not appropriately captured in models.
You can access the paper here.
Demonstrating asymmetric competition in natural systems is difficult, as the effect of large individuals on small ones has to be measured, and vice versa. Numerous experiments have quantified one side of the interaction, typically the effect of large individuals on small ones. Here, we demonstrate, using a long-term study of guppies, that an individual’s performance depends on its relative size, with large individuals being competitively dominant. Accurate prediction of both the mean and variance in body size was possible by using models incorporating asymmetric competition, whereas in models where individuals are competitively equivalent, the predictions were poor.
Here is a link to the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecm.1413
Jonah is hoping to study ecosystem stable states/tipping points as they pertain to the relationship between Northeastern bird communities and invasive forest insects with Prof. Michael Reed.
McKinley will be working with Jenny Zambrano, most likely studying germination rates of tree species growing in the Cascade Mountain Range, as well as some implications for drought conditions, etc. in the future.
Click here to view the paper.
9/12/2019 0 Comments
Read the full text here. Organisms can change their environment and in doing so change the selection they experience and how they evolve. Population density is one potential mediator of such interactions because high population densities can impact the ecosystem and reduce resource availability. At present, such interactions are best known from theory and laboratory experiments. Here we quantify the importance of such interactions in nature by transplanting guppies from a stream where they co-occur with predators into tributaries that previously lacked both guppies and predators. If guppies evolve solely because of the immediate reduction in mortality rate, the strength of selection and rate of evolution should be greatest at the outset and then decline as the population adapts to its new environment. If indirect effects caused by the increase in guppy population density in the absence of predation prevail, then there should be a lag in guppy evolution because time is required for them to modify their environment. The duration of this lag is predicted to be associated with the environmental modification caused by guppies. We observed a lag in life-history evolution associated with increases in population density and altered ecology. How guppies evolved matched predictions derived from evolutionary theory that incorporates such density effects.
9/12/2019 0 Comments
August 2016. David Reznick prepares to begin his Guggenheim Fellowship.David Reznick will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to spend a year at Oxford University. He aspires to learn something of Integrated Population Models and mixed effects modeling during his time there. We wish him the best of luck for his time abroad!
June 10, 2016. Martin Turcotte gets a new position.Congratulations to former FIBR graduate student Martin Turcotte on becoming a newly minted assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. All the best to him in his new environs!
June 10, 2016. Another wave of FIBR alumni enter graduate school.Several former interns have accepted offers to begin graduate school in the upcoming academic year. Kathryn Chenard, former intern and field manager, will join Renée Duckworth's lab at the University of Arizona. Greg Larsen, another former intern and field manager, will begin at Duke University in David Johnston's lab, working on large marine mammals. Greg will bring with him a wealth of experience and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Tomas Potter, former intern, lab manager and experimental ace, has accepted the offer of the Oxford University Doctoral Traineeship Program. While he has not chosen a major professor or study system, he may very well return to Trinidad for his doctoral research. Meanwhile, Toby Hector will begin exploring the Southern Hemisphere as a PhD student in Matthew Hall's lab at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Good luck to all in their new academic adventures!
April 6, 2016. David Reznick wins a Guggenheim Fellowship.Congratulations to David Reznick on winning the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for 2016! Well done, David! See the announcement in the New York Times.
December 28, 2015. News from the FIBR family treeFormer FIBR intern (2011-2012) extraordinaire Jennifer Hoey has had a successful start to her PhD at Rutgers University. She has been applying genetic techniques to understand population structure, dispersal and connectivity in summer flounder. In the future, she may expand these themes to examine how fishing pressure and climate have influenced adaptation in this species. Best of luck moving forward, Jennifer!
September 21, 2015. New FIBR papers!Two new FIBR papers have been published, one in the journal Oikos and another in Freshwater Biology. Please click on the Publications page to view them!
September 17, 2015. Where are they now? News on FIBR alumni Matthew Walsh, a former graduate student affiliated with FIBR, is now an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Arlington. He has just received a grant from NSF to exploit the long-term data set amassed by a LTER project in Wisconsin to study the evolution of microcrustacea in Wisconsin lakes. There are traces of responses to climate change and other anthropogenic influences on the environment evident in the phenotypes of samples archived over the past 30 years. Matt will extract information from these archived samples and combine it with laboratory experiments that characterize genetic divergence among the extant populations. You can hear an interview of Matt that was featured on NPR at this link: http://www.wpr.org/biologist-gets-national-science-grant-study-environmental-change-wisconsin-lakes
September 2015. Science News articleThe September 2015 Nature paper by Ghalambor et. al was featured in a Science News article, "Unhelpful adaptations can speed up evolution." Visit http://cnas.ucr.edu/guppy/fibrsciencenews.pdf to download the article.
September 2, 2015. Nature paper press releasesA paper published on 2 September 2015 in Nature by Ghalambor and colleagues has been featured in several press releases:
Featured press release entry:
Evolutionary biology: How guppy fish adapt to new environments
An evolutionary study involving guppy fish populations provides insights into how organisms adapt to environmental change, reports a paper published in Nature this week.
Changes in the environment drive organisms to alter their characteristics, and this can occur through evolutionary changes across generations (genetic adaptation), as well as through plastic changes in gene expression within a generation (phenotypic plasticity). Although it is known that phenotypic plasticity may influence evolutionary change by altering the distribution of phenotypes upon which natural selection acts, it is not currently clear whether it facilitates or hinders genetic adaptation.
Cameron Ghalambor and colleagues transplant wild Trinidadian guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) from a stream with predatory pike fish into two predator-free streams, and compare brain gene expression patterns between the original and the transplanted populations after three to four generations, as well as with a native predator-free population. They find that when the phenotype varies in the same way as is favoured by natural selection (adaptive plasticity), the genes that gave rise to the phenotype tend not to evolve in response to selection. Conversely, when the phenotype varies in the opposite way (non-adaptive plasticity), those genes evolve rapidly.
“A question that needs to be addressed in future studies is whether results from gene expression analyses can be extended and generalized to macroscopic traits that have more direct ecological relevance,” says Juha Merilä in an accompanying News & Views article.
Cameron Ghalambor (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA)
Tel: +1 970 402 6505; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The paper is available for download at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature15256
Andrew Furness, another FIBR Alum, has been awarded an NSF post-doctoral research fellowship in biology, with am emphasis on research that makes use of museum collections. The title of his project is: "The evolution of the placenta in poeciliid fishes: testing adaptive and conflict hypotheses." Congratulations Andrew!
February 2015. Greg Larsen becomes assistant editor for Lab Animal Congratulations to former intern and field manager Greg Larsen on his new job as assistant editor for Lab Animal, a publication of Nature Publishing Group!
January 2015. New position for Abby Sage, a former FIBR Guppy InternAbby Sage, a former intern has a new position as a researcher at Kruger National Park in South Africa. She is working on a disease ecology project on African Buffalo. Congrats on the new job!
December 2014. Martin Turcotte is awarded a competitive post-doctoral fellowshipCongratulations to Martin Turcotte for being awarded the competitive Adaptation to Changing Environments (ACE) post-doctoral fellowship at ETH Zürich!
October 2014. Andrew Furness appointed post-doc at UC IrvineFIBR Guppy alumni Andrew Furness has joined John Avise's lab at UC Irvine as a post-doctoral researcher.
May 2014. A blog on the day-to-day life of a FIBR Guppy Intern, stories from the Guppy HouseKaren Backe, former field intern, has made a blog about what it is like to work on the FIBR Guppy Team. For insights and photos on the day-to-day life of a FIBR Guppy intern in Trinidad, check out her blog here. The Trinidad posts are all under the May 2014 section.
May 2014. News on FIBR Guppy InternsJohn Kronenberger is finishing his first year as a PhD student at Colorado State University.
Gregor Sigmund and Cinnamon Mittan will matriculate as graduate students at Cornell in September 2014.
Congratulations on these achievements!
April 2014. Sonya Auer wins post-doctoral fellowshipBelated congratulations to Sonya Auer for winning a post-doctoral fellowship to work with Neil Metcalfe at the University of Glasgow!
April 2014. Matt Walsh becomes assistant professorBelated congratulations to Matthew Walsh for becoming an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Arlington!
April 2014. Swanne Gordon is awarded post-doctoral research grantCongratulations to Swanne Gordon for receiving a highly competitive post-doctoral researcher grant to continue her work at the University of Jyvaskyla!
March 2014. Two new post-doc positions for FIBR alumniRon Bassar has accepted a post-doc position at Oxford University with Tim Coulson. Also, Martin Turcotte will work as a post-doc with Jonathan Levine at ETH Zürich. Both will start their positions in Summer 2014. Congratulations Ron and Martin!
March 2014. Jennifer Hoey headed to Rutgers UniversityJennifer Hoey, a former intern (2011-2012), has accepted a PhD position at Rutgers University in the department of Ecology and Evolotionary Biology. Starting fall 2014, she will work with Malin Pinksy. She has also been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship as well as a GAANN fellowship. Congratulations Jennifer!
November 2013. More media attraction for the FIBR teamThis experiment changed our understanding of parasite resistance
June 2013. Our latest article attracts the mediaIn a recent article, Andrés López-Sepulcre and colleagues analyze our focal stream data to show that a substantial proportion of males reproduce well after dead, and that this is important for population growth and selection. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, have featured in Science NOW, Science NEWS, Live Science, Yahoo News, NBC News webpage, the Smithsonian blog and a variety of other science news pages around the world.
April 2013. Meredith Palmer wins NSF GRFP award.FIBR alumnus Meredith Palmer has won an NSF predoctoral award to support her PhD at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She will be working with Craig Packer on predator-prey interactions in the Serengeti. Congrats, Meredith!
March 2012. Ron Bassar wins young researcher awardRon Bassar, who graduated with us, has won the 2012 Hynes Award for New Investigators from the Society for Freshwater Science. Congratulations Ron!!
Winter 2011-2012. The FIBR post-doc diaspora.We are proud to announce that many of our PhD students have graduated throughout the last year and gotten wonderful post-docs around the world. Sonya Auer at University of Montana (USA), Ron Bassar at University of Massachussets (USA), Swanne Gordon at University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Julian Torres-Dowdall at University of Konstanz (Germany), Martin Turcotte at University of Toronto (Canada) and Eugenia Zandona at Universidade Estatal de Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
February, 2012 - Swanne Gordon accepts post-doctoral position in FinlandSwanne, who worked on the evolution of guppy coloration in our focal fish for her PhD, is moving to the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. She will be researching the role of sexual selection on the evolution of color polymorphism in the wood tiger moth Parasemia plantaginis.
December, 2011 - New video posted!You can find a recent report on the progress in this project in the Video Folder (scroll down to Presentations section) in the form of a seminar given by David Reznick at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley on October 19, 2011.
Nov 26, 2011 - Swanne Gordon's article selected by Faculty of 1000Swanne Gordon's article in Evolution, on the rapid evolution of color sex linkage in guppies was recommended as a 'Must Read' by Deborah Charlesworth on Faculty of 1000. You can read the comment at http://f1000.com/13376970
August 15, 2011 - Martin Turcotte publishes a paper in Ecology LettersMartin Turcotte just published a paper in Ecology Letters entitled The Impact of Rapid Evolution on Population Dynamics in the Wild: Experimental Test of Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics. You can read a press release about his work at
Martin received his PhD at UC Riverside in March, 2011 and is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto, where he is working with Marc Johnson.
August, 2011 - Rana El-Sabaawi gets tenure track appointmentRana El-Sabaawi, former post-doc with Alex Flecker at Cornell University, has accepted a tenure track assistant professorship at the University of Victoria, to begin in July 2012.
July, 2011 - Andrés López-Sepulcre gets tenure at CNRS (France)Andrés López-Sepulcre, a postdoctoral researcher for 4 years in the project (at UCR and ENS,Paris), earned a tenured position as CNRS junior researcher in France.
July, 2011 - Keeley MacNeill gets Fulbright Fellowship!Technician Keeley MacNeil has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and will work with Dr. Dag Hessen at the University of Oslo. She will study the effects of physical variables on the functional traits of bacteria and phytoplankton in Norwegian and Swedish lakes. Congratulations Keeley!
June, 2011 - Eugenia Zandonà completes PhDEugenia Zandonà completed her PhD and received the 'Best Dissertation Award in Physical and Life Sciences' from Drexel University for her thesis, which was affiliated with the FIBR project. She characterized how guppies from high versus low predation environments differed in diet, gut structure and stoichiometry. Her current position is: CNPq Post-Doctoral Fellow at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) with Dr. Timothy Moulton. She is studying fish and shrimp stoichiometry and excretion to investigate their role in nutrient cycling in coastal streams of the Atlantic Forest. CNPq is the Centro Nacional de Pesquisa, which is the Brazilian version of NSF.