- Published: Monday, 12 February 2018 02:00
Ron Coleman speaks on "Costa Rican Cichlids"
Dr. Ron Coleman is Professor at California State University, Sacramento and teaches courses on Ichthyology (the study of fishes), Fisheries Biology, Animal Behavior and other related topics. His specific field of study is evolutionary ecologist, which means that he tries to understand behavior in the context of the organism's whole life and in terms of how the behavior evolved by natural selection.
I am interested in cichlids from two angles, both as a scientist and a hobbyist. On the hobbyist side, it is hard to beat cichlids as entertaining and just plain interesting animals to have around. They are intelligent and curious creatures that come in so many shapes, sizes and colours that I find it hard to believe that anyone could not be fascinated by them.
Many of these same qualities of cichlids make them fascinating to me as a scientist. The sheer diversity of the family offers countless opportunities to evolutionary biologists like myself.
Cichlids, are nature's gift to the evolutionary biologist. So many questions of evolutionary biology are stifled because of the lack of diversity in many groups of organisms. For example, the North American sunfish are a fabulously interesting group of fishes and few things can match a male bluegill sunfish protecting his nest and babies. And yet, we can never answer the question of why it is the male bluegill that guards his nest rather than the female by studying sunfish. Why? Because it is the same for all sunfish. All species in the family exhibit male care so we have nothing to compare them with.
Sunday, March 11, 2018 | 6PM
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