Slowly returning to “normal”

The last two years have been challenging for everyone and I am so proud of how our lab has risen to those challenges. We are sloooooowly getting back to “normal” this summer with fieldwork and fish. Bethany and Jai are in Uganda, Noel is at Stone Lab, and I’m still sitting in my basement office trying to keep it all together.

We’ll be trying to post more research news from now on so stay tuned!

Check out our “Opportunities” page!

Check out our “Opportunities” page for exciting new positions in the lab! We are currently seeking one PhD position to work on our funded NSF project starting in Autumn 2018 (with the possibility of a pre-enrollment field season in Summer 2018). The project aims to determine the key drivers and functional significance of sensory and behavioral trait divergence in an African cichlid facing human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) and the student would be co-advised by Dr. Lauren Pintor. More positions will posted over the next couple of weeks.

Water Across the World

It seems early but we’re already starting to plan our next field season in Uganda! With this we also need to start planning for our Water Across the World project where we work with students in rural Uganda and those in rural Ohio to connect them on issues of water quality in their respective communities. This year we have a group of undergraduate students helping us to expand and improve our project and we’re so excited to get back to Uganda and implement their ideas!

If you’d like to contribute to our fundraising efforts for Water Across the World, you can do so through this link:


Congratulations, Jenna!

Jenna Odegard successfully defended her MS thesis on Monday! Her thesis, co-supervised by Suzanne Gray and Lauren Pintor, focused on, The role of taxonomic and functional diversity in biotic resistance of non-native fish and invertebrates in coastal Lake Erie Wetlands. Jenna will be the first graduate student of the Gray Lab. Congratulations, Jenna!


CFAES Undergraduate Poster Forum

A little late, but big congratulations to three Gray Fish Lab students who participated in the 2016 CFAES Undergraduate Research Forum! Look for Tiffany, Jeff and Jake next week at the OSU Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

Tiffany Atkinson, Honors, “The relationship between turbidity and carotenoid-based coloration of centrarchid fishes in urban streams”. FIRST PLACE WINNER!


Jeff Robbins, Research with Distinction, “The optikinetic response of fishes to different levels of turbidity”.


Jake Wittman, Honors, “Effects of aquatic habitat degradation on hybridization between two species of Sunfish: Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)

A Poem for Bluelips by Tara E. Stewart

Last week Suzanne gave a talk at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana about our research on P. multicolor (aka Bluelips). One of the graduate students in attendance wrote this amazing poem about our lovely Bluelips. Thank you, Tara!

Two fish diverged into swamp and lake
Both contrasting in turbidity
One clear as glass and one opaque
But could these clouds in water make
Traits that reduce morbidity?

The cichlid fish of papyrus glades
Did glow with elements of red
And outshone the others’ golden shades
With colors not from DO grades
But from carotenoids acquired

Suspended flecks, refracting light
Bring to task our fish’s eyes
And cichlids with the dimmer plight
Compensate with increased sight
And greater optical lobe size

These visual traits show plastic shifts
But less for fish from steady swamps
Into which little sediment drifts
And clarity changes by minimal rifts
In unstable lakes, plasticity trumps

Turbidity masks an enemy’s face
Breeding uncertainty and fear
And cichlids from both aquatic space
Aggressed as their rivals came near
More so in turbid, and less in clear

From different locales, but same epithet
These fish respond to particulate blends
With traits that will surely be met
By altered fitness, revealing the threat
Of environmental change for our cichlid friends