Molly Morris, PhD
Member Type: Investigator
Behavioral Ecology: My primary research interests are in sexual selection, the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics, and the evolution of communication in aggressive interactions. I primarily work with a group of freshwater fishes from Mexico, the swordtails and platyfishes (Xiphophorus). Currently we are examining variation in female mating preferences and the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics in X. multilineatus and its close relatives. We observe behavior in the field, and we also bring fish back to the laboratory to breed and observe. In addition, we use molecular techniques to examine gene flow, conduct paternity analyses and estimate phlogenetic relationships among populations and species. The phylogenetic trees we construct allow us to examine the evolution of behaviors and morphology across species, and test hypotheses about the evolution of female preferences and male-male aggressive behaviors, as well as role that preference and alternative tactics has played in the evolution of these species.
I currently have two research interests related to diabetes:
1) I am interested in investigating the relationship between fluctuating asymmetry in finger fingerprints and the propensity to develop diabetes. 2) I am also interested in determining the extent to which an alternative growth strategy we detected in the swordtail fish Xiphophorus mulitlineatus could become a model to understand variation in the MC4R gene in relation to diabetes.
For more publications please link to PubMed.
3/06 - 8/11 Associate Editor Behaviour
8/06 - 8/10 President Animal Behavior Society
6/02 - 8/05 Secretary Animal Behavior Society