Research Interests

Social control of sex, behavior and coloration in wrasses

Wrasses are coral-reef fishes that exhibit highly plastic reproductive behavior and life histories. Individuals begin life in an 'initial phase', wherein males and females are similarly cryptically colored. Later in life, particular individuals may undergo a transformation, becoming more brilliantly colored and, if genetically female, switch sex. These 'supermales' maintain control over a harem of females. We are currently studying the social factors that govern the decision to undergo this transformation as well as the physiological processes that underlie this change.