Timothy Tricas

Research interests

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.