Undergraduate researchers

Undergraduate researchers are involved in every aspect of the lab’s activities, from routine maintenance and animal husbandry, to data collection, to study design and publication of results.  Since we do many things in the lab, from molecular genetics to field ecology to behavioral physiology, this is a great way to begin doing hands-on research. I welcome inquiries from freshmen with no previous lab experience, as well as more advanced students. I especially encourage students in the Undergraduates in Biomathematics (UBM) program to contact me about project opportunities.


Students are required to register for a minimum of three credits of BIOL 291 or 491, which translates into 9 hours in the lab per week.  I also ask for a minimum commitment of 2 semesters. Your first semester, you’ll be helping other people with their projects and doing basic gruntwork like aquarium water changes and washing dishes.  By the end of your second semester, you should be ready to take the lead on your own independent project, which can form the basis of an Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) paper and a scholarly publication in an international journal.  After a couple of years in the lab, you will have as much research experience as someone with a Master’s degree. Below is a list of recent publications co-authored by lab undergrads. 

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to do field work at CICHAZ. As a student researcher, the lab will pay for your transportation, room and board.  

There are limited opportunities for funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students over the summer.  During the academic year, paid positions are typically reserved for students with more than one semester of experience as a BIOL 291/491 student.  

If you have a sincere interest in ecology, evolution, and behavior, or if you want to go to professional school and want to develop analytical and research skills, working in the lab is an engaging way to begin your career.  If you are doing this purely to boost your GPA, you are going to be miserable and you are not going to get an A!

Recent publications by undergraduates in the Rosenthal lab (*undergraduate authors):

  • S.W. Coleman, Z.W. Culumber, A. Meaders*, J. Henson* & G.G. Rosenthal 2009. Inducible molecular defenses, ultraviolet radiation, and melanomagenesis in natural Xiphophorus hybrids - a field-based investigation of lab-based cancer models. Env. Biol. Fish 86: 279-284.
  • H.S. Fisher, S. Mascuch* & G.G. Rosenthal 2009. Multivariate male traits misalign with multivariate female preferences in the swordtail fish, Xiphophorus birchmanni. Anim. Behav. 78: 265-269.
  • N. J. Fabian*, L. B. Albright*, G. Gerlach, H. S. Fisher, and G. G. Rosenthal 2007. Humic acid interferes with species recognition in zebrafish (Danio rerio). J. Chem. Ecol. 33: 2090-2096.
  • B. B. M. Wong, C. Bibeau*, K. Bishop*, and G. G. Rosenthal 2005Response to perceived predation threat in fiddler crabs: trust thy neighbor as thyself? Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 58: 345-350.
  • E. R. Turnell*, K. D. Mann*, G. G. Rosenthal, and G. Gerlach 2003. Mate choice in zebrafish (Danio rerio) analyzed with video-stimulus techniques. Biol. Bull. 205: 225-226.