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Graduate student Neil Hamrick collects swordtail fish.
Graduate student Neil Hamrick collects swordtail fish.


Four Biological Sciences students traveled to the Cayo District in Belize in March to find field sites and collect the swordtail fish Xiphophorus helleri.

The students were M.S. student Neil Hamrick, Ph.D. student Meredith Fitschen-Brown, undergraduate Aaron Solitt ’19, and Ph.D. student Anthony Gilbert.

“The trip to Belize was an amazing opportunity for me to participate in collecting data and specimens in the field. This was the first time I had collected any specimens for study, which is an aspect of my career in marine biology that I am looking forward to continuing,” said Solitt, who just graduated with a B.S. in Marine, Freshwater, & Environmental Biology.

The students sampled a gradient of streams from pristine regions in the mountain ranges with no human impact all the way down to streams near major highways and agricultural lands. This opportunity allowed them to sample and photograph different fish populations across Belize, but also to collect X. helleri to bring back to Ohio University for further research in the lab of Dr. Molly Morris, Professor of Biological Sciences.

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