Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research

New Discoveries


Project Spotlight


Jacob Jones
Jacob Jones

The Gulf Killifish

Jacob Jones, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major, is studying the gulf killifish. The Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) is a small, euryhaline fish species occurring in estuarine areas along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This species is capable of rapidly moving between fresh and salt water and as a result is quite hardy to environmental changes, leading to its popularity as a baitfish for sportfish species such as Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). This remarkable trait also facilitates its culture in low salinity conditions, even freshwater ponds. However, several culture bottlenecks remain before Gulf Killifish can be developed at the commercial level. The primary bottleneck is the collection and incubation of eggs. In nature, females deposit eggs episodically on vegetation during new moon phases of tidal cycles. Recent research has shown that eggs can be collected in spawning mats suspended in tanks and incubated in a moist aerial environment, such as an incubator. Limitations are in difficulties associated with the separation of eggs from collection mats, and the space required to incubate eggs. Simplification of the process of egg collection and incubation is needed prior to commercialization. Therefore, this experiment compared egg deposition and fertilization by Gulf Killifish and the difficulty of collecting eggs using three different collection devices: spawning mats, disk collectors, and nylon mesh collectors. Adult Gulf Killifish were distributed in three commercial-scale (4,000-L) recirculating tank systems at 9 ppt. All three types of egg collection devices were used in each tank, with eggs collected every two days, quantifying collection time, egg abundance, and fertilization percentage. It was determined that the mesh collector was the most efficient device to use for collecting eggs from Gulf Killifish.


News / Recognition

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Katherine Abell, a wildlife, fisheries, and aquaculture major, and Zachary Senneff, a forestry major, were among the winners of the 2014 MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Abell placed first in the community engagement and social sciences categories and Senneff placed second in the biological sciences and engineering category.

View Article