Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Marc Schoder
PORTALES—Dr. Kaihong Lu, professor and chair, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, Ningbo University, Ningbo, P.R. China, is at Eastern New Mexico University studying fish reproductive behavior.
Dr. Lu is working with Dr. Marvin Lutnesky, professor and chair of Eastern's Department of Biology. "Two years ago, Dr. Lutnesky and I first met during his visit to my university and we got along very well," said Lu. Lutnesky has been working on how female-female competition influences mating systems. Last year, his lab published a paper on how a female fish (mosquitofish) could chemically inhibit growth and ovary size in developing females.
"This is the first finding of this phenomenon in a fish," said Lutnesky. "We knew that some female mammals could chemically inhibit reproduction in other females, but this suggests the phenomenon may be much more widespread" continued Lutnesky.
Lu studies aquaculture in China. While in China, both professors realized that they may be able to apply knowledge of female-female competition to optimize the reproductive output of female aquaculture organisms. At Eastern, they are using a small minnow, a local red shiner, as a model system to test how egg-laying females influence each other in their mate choice and productivity.
"The shiner is a good animal for initial studies because of its small size and the ease of using it in replicated experiments," said Lutnesky. The professors then intend to study the same subject in China using different fish and crustaceans (crabs) that are cultured for human consumption. Lu will be at ENMU for two months.