Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Zachary Culumber

Committee Member

Paul Wolf

Committee Member

Matthew Niemiller


Eastern mosquitofish--Behavior, Fishes--Dispersal, Gambusia


Dispersal plays an important role in ecological and evolutionary processes. Despite being important to population and invasion dynamics, more information is needed to understand what traits act as drivers of dispersal tendencies. Here, we examined how different behavioral, environmental, and cognitive traits predicted dispersal tendency in the Eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). We examined how chronic exposure to an antidepressant affects different behaviors and dispersal in wild- caught G. holbrooki. We then tested additional behaviors and their relationship to dispersal tendency. We found that exposure to fluoxetine did not affect performance in any of the behavioral assays or on dispersal. In our second experiment, we found that sociability and body size act as predictors of dispersal, with more asocial and smaller fish dispersing farther. These findings have implications for understanding how species move into environments, though more work is needed to understand how this might affect future invasion, population, and disease dynamics.


Investigation of behavioral and cognitive traits affecting dispersal tendencies in eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)



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