• Project Title: Feeding Behavior of Female Mosquitofish Impacted by Male Reproductive Harrassment

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Murthy

  • Internship Location: UC Santa Cruz

  • Onsite Mentor: Ms. Doriane Weiler

The presence of invasive organisms in new environments frequently results in negative and unforeseen consequences for native species inhabiting the area. The Eastern gambusia, also known as the mosquitofish, gains its invasive quality through genetic variability and is able to adapt to a myriad of environmental conditions (including salinity, temperature, and pH). Their threat to the biodiversity of many ecosystems calls for further research and understanding of their rapid reproductive patterns and behaviors. The Marine Biology Lab in the Ecology and Evolutionary Department at UC Santa Cruz is currently studying the interactions between male and female mosquitofish and their respective feeding patterns. Previous research shows that male mosquito fish sexually harass females during reproduction, so we are looking specifically at the feeding patterns of female mosquito fish in the absence and presence of males. By utilizing experimental setups of natural environments and video analysis, we can more accurately predict the both the reproductive and feeding behavior of mosquitofish. With this new information, steps can be taken towards limiting the spread of the mosquitofish and protecting the native species in the ecosystem.