Becky Fuller

104 Shelford Vivarium
606 E. Healey Street
Office: 217-333-9065
Fax: 217-265-0056

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104 Shelford Vivarium
606 E. Healey Street
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Becky Fuller

Associate Professor, Animal Biology, Neuroscience
B.S., University of Nebraska
M.S., Michigan State University
Ph.D., Florida State University
2012 - I.C. Gunsalus Professor
2011 - NSF Early Career Award
2006 – Young Investigator Award – American Society of Naturalists

Evolution of neural systems and behavior, Evolution of prezygotic isolation among species and its underlying neurological and genomic basis

My lab is broadly interested in the evolution of behavior and its underlying genomic and neurological bases in fish. We tend to focus on variation that manifests among populations within species or among closely related species of fish - particularly killifish, darters, and bass. Currently, the lab is predominantly interested in two main themes.

The first revolves around developing mathematical models of visual systems so that the visual perception can be estimated for species whose visual systems differ from that of humans. We focus on species with retinas with as many as five cone cell types (killifish) or with as few as two (bass). We then ask whether models that combine critical parameters of the visual system and lighting environment explain the types of colors that animals have in nature.

The second theme revolves around questions of speciation and the evolution of pre-zygotic isolation. Our recent work indicates that reinforcement (selection to mate with conspecifics in areas of sympatry) is rampant among many fish systems and that genomic arrangements are often evolved. Projects along these lines involve dissections of the genetic basis of preference.

Research Areas

Major Grants

2015 - Hawkes Award, University of Illinois, R.C. Fuller PI, "Assembling darter genomes: resources for tackling the problem of species delimitation among allopatric taxa" ($19,230) 2014 - Department of Defense Award, R.C. Fuller co-PI, "Thermoregulatory behavior of Midwestern amphibians following exposure to the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis" ($52,870) 2013 - Department of Defense Award, R.C. Fuller co-PI, "Determining the Effects of Dietary Restriction, Temperature Shifts and Chytridiomycosis on Amphibian Behavior and Health" ($25,027) 2011 – UI Research Board Award ($22,000) 2010-2015 National Science Foundation Early Career Award ($856,553)

Representative Publications

Zhou, M. and Fuller, R.C. (2015). Sexually asymmetric color-based species discrimination in orangethroat darters. Animal Behaviour 106: 171-179.

Kozak, G.M., Roland, G., Rankhorn, C., Falater, A., Berdan, E.L., and Fuller, R.C. (2015). Behavioral isolation due to cascade reinforcement in Lucania killifish. The American Naturalist 185: 491-506.

Kozak, G.M., Brennan, R.S., Berdan, E.L., Fuller, R.C., and Whitehead, A. (2014). Functional and population genomic divergence within and between two species of killifish adapted to different osmotic niches. Evolution 68: 63-80.

Johnson, A.M. and Fuller, R.C. (2014) The meaning of melanin, carotenoid, and pterin pigments in the bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei. Behavioral Ecology doi:10.109

Phamduy, P., Polverino, G., Fuller, R.C., and Porfiri, M. (2014) Fish and robot dancing together: bluefin killifish females respond differently to the courtship of a robot with varying color morphs. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 9:036021.

Berdan, E.L., Kozak, G.M., Ming, R. Rayburn, A.L., Kiehart, R., and Fuller, R.C. 2014. Insight into genomic changes accompanying divergence: genetic linkage maps and synteny of Lucania goodei and L. parva reveal a Robertsonian fusion. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 4: 1373-1372. doi: 10.1534/g3.114.012096

Schrader, M., Fuller, R.C., and Travis, J. 2013. Differences in size at birth provide a systematic basis for isolation asymmetry between populations of a placental fish. Biology Letters 9:20130327.

Johnson, A.M., Stannis, S. and Fuller, R.C. 2013. Diurnal lighting patterns and habitat alter opsin expression and colour preferences in a killifish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B. 280: 20130796.

Gregorio, O., Berdan, E.L., Kozak, G.M., and Fuller, R.C. 2012. Reinforcement of male mate preferences in sympatric killifish species, Lucania goodei and L. parva. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 1429-1436.

Fuller, R.C. and Claricoates, K.M. 2011. Rapid light-induced shifts in opsin expression: finding new opsins, discerning mechanisms of change, and implications for visual sensitivity. Molecular Ecology 20: 3321–3335.

Schrader, M., Travis, J., and Fuller, R.C. 2011. Population density, mating system variation and the evolution of reproductive incompatibilities between populations of a placental fish. Molecular Ecology 20: 4140–4151.

Fuller, R.C., Noa, L.A., and Strellner, R.S. 2010. Teasing apart the many effects of lighting environment on opsin expression and foraging preference in bluefin killifish. The American Naturalist 176: 1-13.

Fuller, R.C. and Noa, L.A. 2010. Female mating preferences, lighting environment, and a test of sensory bias in bluefin killifish. Animal Behavior 80: 23-35.

Fuller, R.C. 2008. Genetic incompatibilities in killifish and the role of environment. Evolution 62: 3056-3068.

Fuller, R.C., Houle, D. & Travis, J. 2005. Sensory bias and the evolution of female mating preferences. Am Nat.166: 437-446.