Gil G. Rosenthal

Gil Rosenthal

Department of Biology
Texas A&M University 

3258 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843 


Ph. D. Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin, 2000 

Curriculum Vitae (updated November 2016)


Our lab's research seeks to understand the diversity of systems that animals use to communicate with one another, both at the level of proximate mechanisms and in an evolutionary sense, and to understand the role communication plays in shaping basic ecological and evolutionary processes. Our primary focus is on visual and chemical communication in teleost fishes, although students have worked on a wide variety of topics. Integrative research is necessarily collaborative, and much of our research involves work with other labs with complementary areas of specialization. Current research focuses on mate choice and evolutionary genetics in hybrid zones, gene expression across hybrid gradients, mechanisms of chemical signaling, and visual ecology of reef fishes. Much of our work involves playback of synthetic computer animations. 

Our lab at TAMU includes extensive indoor space for experimentation and animal housing and an array of outdoor stock ponds. Our CICHAZ research station, within a long day's drive in Calnali,Hidalgo, is a home base for field trips and experimental research in the eastern Sierra Madre of Mexico. 

TAMU offers excellent intellectual and physical resources in both the Biology Department and the broader program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Bryan/College Station is within easy reach of Houston, Austin, and an array of ecologically distinct natural areas, and offers a bucolic country lifestyle in a surprisingly cosmopolitan setting. 

Prospective graduate students should familiarize themselves with Rosenthal lab publications, then contact Gil Rosenthal directly before submitting an application to TAMU's Department of Biology.



  1. R. Cui, P.J. Delclos, M. Schumer and G.G. Rosenthal, in press. Early social learning triggers neurogenomic expression changes in a swordtail fish. Proc. Royal. Soc. London B: Biol. Sci. [PDF]
  2. G.G. Rosenthal, in press. Mate Choice: the Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans. Princeton University Press. Publication expected summer 2017.
  3. S.J. Ingley and G.G. Rosenthal, in press. Digest: Mechanisms of assortative mating and ecological speciation. Evolution. doi:10.1111/evo.13132 [PDF]
  4. L. Chouinard-Thuly, S. Gierzewski, G.G. Rosenthal, and 13 others, 2016. Technical and conceptual considerations for using animated stimuli in studies of animal behavior. Curr. Zool. [PDF]
  5. D.L. Powell and G.G. Rosenthal, 2016. What artifice can and cannot tell us about animal behavior. Curr. Zool. 62:5. [PDF]
  6. M. Schumer, R. Cui, D.L. Powell, G.G. Rosenthal, and P. Andolfatto, 2016. Ancient hybridization and genomic stabilization in a swordtail fish. Mol. Ecol. 25: 2661–2679 [PDF]
  7. K. Boulton, G.G. Rosenthal, A.J. Grimmer, C. A. Walling and A.J. Wilson, 2016. Sex-specific plasticity and genotype x sex interactions for age and size of maturity in the sheepshead swordtail, Xiphophorus birchmanni. J. Evol. Biol. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12814 [PDF]
  8. G.G. Rosenthal, 2016. Mate choice: charting desire’s tangled bank. Current Biology 26: R294-R296. [PDF]
  9. R. Cui, M. Schumer, and G.G. Rosenthal, 2016. Admix’em: A flexible framework for forward-time simulations of hybrid populations with selection and mate choice. Bioinformatics 32: 1103-1105. [PDF]
  10. S.J. Ingley, M.R. Asl, C. Wu, R. Cui, M. Gadelhak, W. Li, J. Zhang, J. Simpson, C. Hash, T. Butkowski, T. Veen, J. B. Johnson, W. Yan and G.G. Rosenthal, 2015. anyFish 2.0: An open-source software platform to generate and share animated fish models to study behavior. SoftwareX. [PDF]
  11. M. Schumer, R. Cui, G.G. Rosenthal, and P. Andolfatto., 2016. simMSG: an experimental design tool for high-throughput genotyping of hybrids. Mol. Ecol. Resources 16: 183-192. [PDF]
  12. C. Passos, B. Tassino, G.G. Rosenthal, and M. Reichard , 2015. Reproductive behavior and sexual selection in annual fishes. In Annual Fishes: Life History Strategy, Diversity, and Evolution, N. Berois, G. Garcia, R. de Sá eds. CRC press. 201-223.
  13. D.N. Orbach, G.G. Rosenthal, and B. Würsig. , 2015. Copulation rate declines with mating group size in dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). Can. J. Zool. 61: 596-603. [PDF]
  14. J.B. Johnson, Z.W. Culumber and G.G. Rosenthal , 2015. Boldness and predator evasion in naturally hybridizing swordtails (Teleostei: Xiphophorus). Curr. Zool. 61: 596-603. [PDF]
  15. K.A. Paczolt, C.N. Passow, P.J. Delclos, H.K. Kindsvater, A.G. Jones and G.G. Rosenthal , 2015. Multiple mating and reproductive skew in parental and introgressed females of the live-bearing fish Xiphophorus birchmanni. J. of Heredity 106: 57-66. [PDF]
  16. C. Passos, B. Tassino, F. Reyes and G.G. Rosenthal , 2014. Seasonal variation in female mate choice and operational sex ratio in wild populations of an annual fish, Austrolebias reicherti. PLos ONE 9: e101649. [PDF]
  17. J.B. Johnson, D.C. Macedo, C.N. Passow and G.G. Rosenthal , 2014. Sexual ornaments, body morphology, and swimming performance in naturally hybridizing swordtails (Teleostei: Xiphophorus. PLos ONE 9: e109025. [PDF]
  18. M. Schumer, R. Cui, D.L. Powell, R. Dresner, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto , 2014. High-resolution mapping reveals hundreds of genetic incompatibilities in hybridizing fish species. eLife 2014:10.7554/eLife.02535. [PDF]
  19. M. Schumer, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto , 2014. How common is homoploid hybrid speciation? Evolution 68:1553-1560. [PDF]
  20. Z.W. Culumber, O.M. Ochoa and G.G. Rosenthal , 2014. Assortative mating and the maintenance of population structure in a natural hybrid zone. Am. Nat. 184:225-232. [PDF]
  21. K. Boulton, A.J. Grimmer, G.G. Rosenthal, C.A. Walling and A.J. Wilson , 2014. How stable are personalities? A multivariate view of behavioural variation over long and short timescales in the sheepshead swordtail, Xiphophorus birchmanni. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 68:791-803. [PDF]
  22. N.L. Ratterman, G.G. Rosenthal, G.E. Carney and A.G. Jones , 2014. Genetic variation and covariation in male attractiveness and female mating preferences in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 4:79-88. [PDF]
  23. C.R. Schacter, L.B. Albright, E.A. Dubofsky, J.N. Fitzsimmons, R. Focht, L.E. Nadler, M. Sandercock, L. Taylor, D. Walfoort, T. Whitten, L.J. Williams and G.G. Rosenthal. , 2014. Risk-sensitive resource defense in a territorial reef fish. Environ. Biol. Fish 97: 813-819. [PDF]
  24. C. Passos, F. Reyes, B. Tassino, G.G. Rosenthal and A. González, 2013. Female annual killifish Austrolebias reicherti (Cyprinodontiformes, Rivulidae) attend to male chemical cues. Ethology 119:891-897. [PDF]
  25. T. Veen, S.J. Ingley, R. Cui, J. Simpson, M.R. Asl, J. Zhang, T. Butkowski, W. Li, C. Hash, J. B. Johnson, W. Yan and G.G. Rosenthal , 2013. anyFish: an open-source software to generate animated fish models for behavioural studies. Evolutionary Ecology Research 15:361-375 [PDF]
  26. Z.W. Culumber and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Mating preferences do not maintain the tailspot polymorphism in the platyfish, Xiphophorus variatus. Behav. Ecol. 24:1286-1291. [PDF]
  27. Z.W. Culumber and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Population-level mating patterns and fluctuating asymmetry in swordtail hybrids. Naturwissenschaften 100: 801-804. [PDF]
  28. A.J. Wilson, A. Grimmer, and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Causes and consequences of contest outcome: aggressiveness, dominance and growth in the sheepshead swordtail, Xiphophorus birchmanni. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 67:1151-1161. [PDF]
  29. G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Editorial: What is it like to be a peahen? Curr. Zool. 59: 180-183. [PDF]
  30. R. Cui, M. Schumer, K. Kruesi, R. Walter, P. Andolfatto and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Phylogenomics reveals extensive reticulate evolution in Xiphophorus fishes. Evolution 67: 2166-2179. [PDF]
  31. C. Passos, B. Tassino, M. Loureiro and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Intra- and intersexual selection on male body size in the annual killifish Austrolebias charrua. Behavioural Processes 96: 20-26. [PDF]
  32. H.K. Kindsvater, S. Simpson, G.G. Rosenthal and S.H. Alonzo, 2013. Male diet, female experience, and female size influence maternal investment in swordtails.. Behav. Ecol. 24:691-697. [PDF]
  33. M. Schumer, R. Cui, B. Boussau, R. Walter, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto, 2013. An evaluation of the hybrid speciation hypothesis for Xiphophorus clemenciae based on whole genome sequences. Evolution 67: 1155-1168. [PDF]
  34. H.K. Kindsvater, G.G. Rosenthal and S.H. Alonzo, 2012. Maternal size and age shape offspring size in a live-bearing fish, Xiphophorus birchmanni. PLoS One 7(11): e48473. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048473. [PDF]
  35. G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Individual mating decisions and hybridization. J. Evol. Biol 26:252-255. [PDF]
  36. Z.W. Culumber, D.B. Shepard, S.W. Coleman, G.G. Rosenthal and M. Tobler, 2012. Physiological adaptation along environmental gradients and replicated hybrid zone structure in swordtails (Teleostei: Xiphophorus). J. Evol. Biol. 25: 1800-1814. [PDF]
  37. P.M. Willis, G.G. Rosenthal and M.J. Ryan , 2012. An indirect cue of predation risk counteracts female preference for conspecifics in a naturally hybridizing fish Xiphophorus birchmanni. PLoS One . 7: e34802. [PDF]
  38. M.N. Verzijden, Z.W. Culumber and G.G. Rosenthal, 2012. Opposite effects of learning cause asymmetric mate preferences in hybridizing species. Behav. Ecol.. 23: 1133-1139. [PDF]
  39. J.A. Klassen, M.L. Morrison, H.A. Mathewson, G.G. Rosenthal, and R. Neal Wilkins, 2012. Canopy characteristics affect reproductive success of golden-cheeked warblers. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 36: 54-60. [PDF]
  40. G.G. Rosenthal and D.M. Stuart-Fox , 2012. Environmental disturbance and animal communication. In: Behavioural responses to a changing world: mechanisms and consequences, B. B. M. Wong & U. Candolin eds., Oxford University Press. [PDF]
  41. K. Kruesi, G.G. Rosenthal and G. Alcaraz, 2011. Growth and male ornamentation in Xiphophorus montezumae. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology. 44: 159-169. [PDF]
  42. P.M. Willis, M.J. Ryan and G.G. Rosenthal, 2011. Encounter rates with conspecific males influence female mate choice in a naturally hybridizing fish. Behav. Ecol. 22: 1234-1240. [PDF]
  43. M.N. Verzijden and G.G. Rosenthal, 2011. Effects of sensory modality on learned mate preferences in female swordtails. Anim. Behav. 82: 557-562. [PDF]
  44. J.B. Johnson, Z.W. Culumber and G.G. Rosenthal., In preparation. Boldness and anti-predator behavior in naturally hybridizing swordtail fish.
  45. G.G. Rosenthal, J.N. Fitzsimmons, K.K. Woods, G. Gerlach and H.S. Fisher, 2011. Tactical release of a sexually-selected pheromone in a swordtail fish. PLoS One 6:e16994. [PDF]
  46. Z.W. Culumber, H.S. Fisher, M. Tobler, M. Mateos, P.H. Barber, M.D. Sorenson and G.G. Rosenthal, 2011. Replicated hybrid zones of Xiphophorus swordtails along an elevational gradient. Mol. Ecol. [PDF]
  47. G.G. Rosenthal and F.J. García de León, 2011. Speciation and hybridization. In Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes (I. Schlupp, A. Pilastro, J. Evans eds.), University of Chicago Press.
  48. G.G. Rosenthal and M. J. Ryan, 2011. Multiple visual cues, receiver psychology, and signal evolution in pygmy swordtails. In Viviparous Fishes II, Maricarmen Uribe Aranzabal ed. [PDF]
  49. G.G. Rosenthal and N.J. Marshall, 2011. Communication behaviour: visual signals. In: Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology: From Genome to Environment (A.P. Farrell ed.), Elsevier Press. [PDF]
  50. T. Butkowski, W. Yan, A.M. Gray, R. Cui, M.N. Verzijden and G.G. Rosenthal, 2011. Automated interactive video playback for studies of animal communication. J. Vis. Exp., e2374
  51. G.G. Rosenthal, M.J. Ryan, 2010. Conflicting preferences within females: sexual selection versus species recognition. Biol. Lett. [PDF]
  52. G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. Do Fish Feel Pain? [review] Q. Rev. Biol. 85: 515. [PDF]
  53. M. Tobler, Z.W. Culumber, M. Plath, K.O. Winemiller and G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. An indigenous religious ritual selects for resistance to a toxicant in a livebearing fish. Biol. Lett. [PDF]
  54. I. Gomez-Mestre, V. L. Saccoccio, T. Ijima, E. M Collins, G.G. Rosenthal and K. M. Warkentin, 2010. The shape of things to come: linking developmental plasticity to post-metamorphic morphology in anurans. J. Evol. Biol. 23: 1364–1373. [PDF]
  55. G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. Swordtails and platyfishes. In: Breed M.D. and Moore J., (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, volume 3, Oxford, UK: Academic Press, pp. 363-367. [PDF]
  56. G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. Playbacks in Behavioral Experiments. In: Breed M.D. and Moore J., (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, volume 2, Oxford, UK: Academic Press, pp. 745-749. [PDF]
  57. H.S. Fisher and G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. Relative abundance of Xiphophorus fishes and its effect on sexual communication. Ethology [PDF]
  58. M. Dugas and G.G. Rosenthal, 2009. Carotenoid-rich mouth colors influence the conspicuousness of nestling birds. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. [PDF]
  59. M. Tobler, S.W. Coleman, B.D. Perkins and G.G. Rosenthal, 2010. Reduced opsin gene expression in a cave-dwelling fish. Biol. Lett. 6:98-101 [PDF]
  60. S.W. Coleman, Z.W. Culumber, A. Meaders, J. Henson and 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. [PDF]
  61. H.S. Fisher, S. Mascuch and G.G. Rosenthal, 2009. Multivariate male traits misalign with multivariate female preferences in the swordtail fish, Xiphophorus birchmanni. Anim. Behav. [PDF]
  62. N.L. Ratterman, G.G. Rosenthal and A.G. Jones, 2009. Sex recognition via chemical cues in the sex-role-reversed Gulf pipefish (Syngnathus scovelli). Ethology 115: 339-346. [PDF]
  63. K. Summers, K. Roney, J. da Silva, G. Capraro, B.J. Cuthberson, S. Kazianis, G.G. Rosenthal, M.J. Ryan and T.J. McConnell, 2009. Divergent patterns of selection on the DAB and DXB MHC Class II loci in Xiphophorus fishes. Genetica 135: 379-390. [PDF]
  64. 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. [PDF]
  65. G.G. Rosenthal, 2007. Spatiotemporal aspects of visual signals in animal communication. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 38:155-178. [PDF]
  66. J. Buckingham, B.B.M. Wong and G.G. Rosenthal, 2007. Shoaling decisions in female swordtails: how do fish gauge group size? Behaviour 144: 1333-1346. [PDF]
  67. H.S. Fisher and G.G. Rosenthal, 2007. Male swordtails court with an audience in mind. Biol. Lett. 3: 5-7. [PDF]
  68. S.W. Coleman and G.G. Rosenthal, 2006. Swordtail fry attend to chemical and visual cues in detecting predators and conspecifics. PLoS One 1: e118. [PDF]
  69. H.S. Fisher and G.G. Rosenthal, 2006b. Hungry females show stronger mating preferences. Behav. Ecol. 17: 979-981. [PDF]
  70. H.S. Fisher and G.G. Rosenthal, 2006a. Female swordtail fish use chemical cues to select well-fed mates. Anim. Behav. 72: 721-725. [PDF]
  71. G.G. Rosenthal and F. J. García de León, 2006. Sexual behavior, genes, and evolution in Xiphophorus. Zebrafish 3: 85-90. [PDF]
  72. H.S. Fisher, B.B.M. Wong and G.G. Rosenthal, 2006. Alteration of the chemical environment disrupts communication in a freshwater fish. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 273: 1187-1193. [PDF]
  73. B.B.M. Wong and G.G. Rosenthal, 2006. Female disdain for swords in a swordtail fish. Am. Nat. 167:136-140. [PDF]
  74. G.G. Rosenthal and P. Lobel, 2006. Communication. In Behaviour and Physiology of Fish (vol. 24), K. Sloman, S. Balshine, R. Wilson eds. (Academic Press), 39-78. [PDF]
  75. G.G. Rosenthal and M.J. Ryan, 2005. Assortative preferences for stripe patterns in danios. Anim. Behav. 70:1063-1066. [PDF]
  76. B.B.M. Wong, H.S. Fisher and G.G. Rosenthal, 2005. Species recognition by male swordtails via chemical cues. Behav. Ecol. 16:818-822. [PDF]
  77. B.B.M. Wong, C. Bibeau, K. Bishop, and G.G. Rosenthal, 2005. Response to perceived predation threat in fiddler crabs: trust thy neighbor as thyself? Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. [PDF]
  78. N.Shashar, G.G. Rosenthal, T. Caras, S. Manor, and G. Katzir, 2005. Species recognition in the blackbordered damselfish Dascyllus marginatus (Rüppell): an evaluation of computer-animated playback techniques. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol 318: 111-118. [PDF]
  79. B.B.M. Wong and G.G. Rosenthal, 2005. Shoal choice in swordtails when preferences conflict. Ethology 111: 179-186. [PDF]
  80. K. E. Roney, B. J. Cuthbertson, U. B. Godwin, S. Kazianis, L. Della Coletta, G.G. Rosenthal, M. J. Ryan, M. Schmidt, and T. J. McConnell, 2004. Alternative splicing of major histocompatibility complex class II DXB transcripts in Xiphophorus fishes. Immunogenetics 56: 462-466. [PDF]
  81. G.G. Rosenthal, A.S. Rand, and M.J. Ryan, 2004. The vocal sac as a visual cue in anuran communication: an experimental analysis using video playback. Anim. Behav. 68 : 55-58.
  82. E.R. Turnell, K.D. Mann, G.G. Rosenthal, and G. Gerlach, 2003. Mate choice in zebrafish analyzed with video-stimulus techniques. Biol. Bull. 205: 225-226. [PDF]
  83. G.G. Rosenthal, X.F. de la Rosa Reyna, S. Kazianis, M.J. Stephens, D.C. Morizot, M.J. Ryan, and F.J. García de León, 2003. Dissolution of sexual signal complexes in a hybrid zone between the swordtails Xiphophorus birchmanni and Xiphophorus malinche (Poeciliidae). Copeia 2003: 299-307. [PDF]
  84. M.E. Cummings, G.G. Rosenthal and M.J. Ryan 2003, 2003. A private ultraviolet channel in visual communication. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 270: 897-904. [PDF]
  85. J. Kingston, G.G. Rosenthal and M.J. Ryan, 2003. The role of sexual selection in maintaining a colour polymorphism in the pygmy swordtail Xiphophorus pygmaeus. Anim. Behav. 65: 735-743. [PDF]
  86. G.G. Rosenthal, M.J. Ryan, and W.E. Wagner, Jr., 2002. Secondary loss of preference for swords in the pygmy swordtail Xiphophorus nigrensis (Pisces: Poeciliidae). Anim. Behav. 63: 37-45. [PDF]
  87. G.G. Rosenthal, T. Y. Flores Martinez, F. J. García de León, and M. J. Ryan, 2001. Shared preferences by predators and females for male ornaments in swordtails. Am. Nat. 158: 146-154. [PDF]
  88. M. J. Ryan and G.G. Rosenthal, 2001. Variation and selection in swordtails. In Model Systems in Behavioral Ecology, L. A. Dugatkin ed., Princeton University Press, 133-148. [PDF]
  89. G.G. Rosenthal and M. J. Ryan, 2000. Visual and acoustic communication in nonhuman animals: a comparison. J. Biosci. 25: 285-290. [PDF]
  90. R. F. Oliveira, G.G. Rosenthal, I. Schlupp, P. K. McGregor, and 19 others, 2000. Considerations on the use of video playbacks as visual stimuli: the Lisbon workshop consensus. Acta Ethologica 3: 61-65. [PDF]
  91. G.G. Rosenthal, 2000. Design considerations and techniques for constructing video stimuli. Acta Ethol. 3: 49-54. [PDF]
  92. R.F. Oliveira , P. K. McGregor , I. Schlupp , and G.G. Rosenthal, 2000. Video playback techniques in behavioural research [editorial]. Acta Ethologica 3: 1. [PDF]
  93. G.G. Rosenthal and M. R. Servedio, 1999. Chase-away sexual selection: resistance to “resistance”. Evolution 53: 296-299. [PDF]
  94. M. J. Ryan, N. M. Kime, and G.G. Rosenthal, 1998. Patterns of evolution in human speech processing and animal communication. Behav. Brain Sci. 21: 282-283.
  95. G.G. Rosenthal, 1999. Using video playbacks to study sexual selection. Env. Biol. Fishes 56: 307-316. [PDF]
  96. G.G. Rosenthal and C. S. Evans , 1998. Female preference for swords in Xiphophorus helleri reflects a bias for large apparent size. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 95: 4431-4436. [PDF]
  97. D. Clark, J. Macedonia, and G.G. Rosenthal, 1997. Testing video playback to lizards in the field. Copeia 1997: 421-423. [PDF]
  98. G.G. Rosenthal, C. S. Evans, and W. L. Miller, 1996. Female preference for a dynamic trait in the green swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri. Anim. Behav. 51: 811-820. [PDF]
  99. M. Kirkpatrick and G.G. Rosenthal, 1994. Fearful symmetry [News and Views]. Nature 372(6502): 134-135. [PDF]