SEA Currents: News
September 22, 2016
SEA Semester alumna’s marine biological research continues at Amherst
SEA Semester in the News
We’re always interested to hear about the continuing research conducted by recent SEA Semester alumni, so we thought we’d share this report about Taylor Hallowell from The Amherst Student. Taylor sailed with C-266, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, last spring.
Thoughts on Theses: Taylor Hallowell ‘17
By Jacob Gendelman ‘20; Staff Writer, The Amherst Student
Taylor Hallowell ’17 majors in biology. Her thesis examines the sensory drive hypothesis in cichlid fish that express different retinal genes while living under different colors of light. Professor of Biology Ethan Clotfelter is her advisor.
Q: Can you describe your thesis?
A: The sensory drive hypothesis is essentially that there’s a difference in the environment, [which] leads to sensory divergences, like divergences in animals’ sensory systems. That leads to reproductive isolation, and that leads to speciation. There isn’t a ton of evidence for it right now, but there’s an increasing amount. People are starting to take more of an interest in it. I’m trying to get more data for it. I’m working with cichlid fish, which are really common fish to work with because they’re so easy to breed. I have hundreds of little babies already. I’m making them grow up in extreme light environments. A third of them are only getting red light, a third are only getting blue light, and a third are getting just white light. I’m trying to show that differences in light environment cause differences in the expression of the genes in the retina. That would contribute to the sensory drive hypothesis.
Read the full story.