Professor Ron Bassar's Research on the Trinidadian Guppy

February 22nd, 2019

At the last Log Lunch, Professor Ron Bassar told the crowd about the four years he spent before joining the Biology department at Williams last year.

He studies the guppy–a popular pet fish in the U.S., which actually derives from the Caribbean island of Trinidad. He specializes in evolutionary biology–in other words, the relationship between evolutionary change and ecological change. We know that evolution changes ecosystems–the physical world looks a lot different now

than it did before human existence. What is more surprising about Prof. Bassar’s research, however, is that ecosystems change the way we evolve. With the recent turbulence in ecosystems caused by climate change, this work seems more important than ever.

Professor Bassar closed the talk by showing a few clips of the process of capturing, tagging, and releasing guppies back into streams. For the purpose of tracking them, over 180 recent graduates have taken part in the Guppy Intern Program: interns take 3 months to help with this work, gaining scientific experience and a free trip to a beautiful island!


–Jane Tekin ’19