Timothy C. Tricas
Co-Director, Graduate Program in Marine Biology
Behavior and Sensory Biology of Fishes
1986 PhD, Dept. of Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa
1976 MS, Dept. of Biology, Calif. State University Long Beach
1972 BS Biology, University of the Pacific
Our research is focused on the evolution of fish sensory systems in relation to their ecology and natural behavior on coral reefs. The coral reefs of Hawaii and other Pacific regions afford excellent opportunities to study these questions in both the lab and field. One important group is the butterflyfishes (family Chaetodontidae), which occur on nearly all coral reef systems. Some of our current projects include the evolution of sound production and a specialized hearing mechanism (the laterophysic connection) in butterflyfishes. We use rebreather technical diving to observe many fishes in the wild and evaluate their acoustic behaviors on coral reefs. We are also interested in the role of AVT and GnRH neuropeptides as modulators of sensory system performance and control of fish social behaviors. Thus, in addition to behavior studies, many grad students also use neuroanatomical and neurophysiological techniques in the lab to assess structure, function and evolution of these systems.
Our other current line of research at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology examines the function of the electrosensory and lateral line system of stingrays and sharks. This work integrates observational field data, the characteristics of natural bioelectric and mechanosensory stimuli encountered by elasmobranch fishes in the wild, and behavior studies of animals to these natural stimuli.