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Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)

To find our published papers, look for Emily Kane on GOOGLE SCHOLAR

Some questions are too big to answer with the larger fish we've studied, so we turn to small fish that can be housed and manipulated in the lab more easily. Live-bearing fishes are great for these experiments because large numbers can be kept in small spaces, they grow and reproduce quickly, several species can be found locally or in aquarium stores, and they are tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Our two main areas of interest are described more below!

Local adaptation of populations to novel or changing environments

Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are a great example of a natural evolutionary experiment, where populations repeatedly evolve either in the presence (downstream) or absence (upstream) of predators. Other differences between these habitats include decreased productivity and prey availability as well as increased population density and competition in upstream environments. In response, guppies evolve differences in body size and shape, male color patterns, life history, behaviors, and many more traits. This has happened over and over again, independently in each river, making guppies an excellent model to  test questions about how animals adapt to new environments, especially when traits such as feeding and swimming are linked. 


This work has been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, and additional work is expected to be submitted soon! We are currently interested in continuing to ask these and similar questions in other live-bearing fishes such as mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) that can be found locally in Louisiana.


Dr. Kane collecting guppies from a stream in Trinidad

This work has been funded by: ​

  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (2014-2016)

  • American Association of University Women Research Publication Grant (2019-2020)

The impacts of residential sewage effluent on biocontrol of mosquitos


We recently joined forces with our local mosquito control agencies to help them understand the effects of waterwater runoff from septic systems, a common problem throughout southern Louisiana, on the ability for mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to help control larval mosquito populations in residential drainage ditches. See an introduction to this work in the video below! 

Our first paper describing what we found is in preparation for a special issue in the journal Toxics! Students are continuing to dig deeper into these questions by examining and testing impacts in more detail. ​

This work has been funded by: ​

  • St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement Department (2023)

  • Louisiana Mosquito Control Association (2024)

Thanks to these local partners for their support!

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