Welcome to the Dijkstra lab!

We study how social interactions affect life history variation within and between closely related species. Our research is trying to address two key questions: (i) What are the physiological costs of territoriality and reproductive behavior, and (ii) how does aggressive competition influence evolutionary diversification? Many of our current projects include detailed studies of social behavior and the underlying physiological mechanisms with a special focus on hormones and oxidative stress as potential mediators of life histories.

The research is focusing on the highly social cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, a model species in ethology and social neuroscience. This species has a lek-like social system in which dominant males defend a territory where they court females. Subordinate males are non-territorial and lack bright coloration. Males can rapidly change status and their behavior can be readily tracked and manipulated in replicated lab communities. Our lab has also begun to study fish species from the Great Lakes region (yellow perch and invasive round gobies).

Dr. Peter D. Dijkstra
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Central Michigan University
4105 Biosciences Building
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
Email: dijks1p {at} cmich {dot} edu
Phone: (989) 774-2918


A cichlid community in our lab