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   from the issue of February 28, 2008

Fulbright expands Basolo's research


Biology professor Alexandra Basolo is in the birthplace of romantic art to study guppies (and other live-bearing fish).

CAMPUS RESEARCH - Alexandra Basolo stands in one of her Manter Hall labs. She travelled to Padova, Italy, in early February...
 CAMPUS RESEARCH - Alexandra Basolo stands in one of her Manter Hall labs. She travelled to Padova, Italy, in early February to begin a four-month Fulbright lectureship. Photo by Troy Fedderson/University Communications.

Basolo has started a four-month Fulbright lectureship at the University of Padova in Padova, Italy, a Lincoln-sized city located about 20 miles west of Venice. She is expanding upon research in behavioral and morphological traits that she has conducted at UNL. She aims to learn new research techniques and is teaching two graduate seminars. She will also help organize an international conference on Poeciliid, a group of live-bearing fishes.

Basolo, who came to UNL in 1994, chose Italy because Padova is home to members of a research team dealing with questions about organisms similar to those she works with at UNL.

Basolo's work focuses on life-history traits - those that are important in an organism's fitness, such as how long organisms live, when they mature, or how many offspring they bear. She also studies predation, from microscopic parasitic predation, to the phenomenon of large organisms eating small organisms, as well as sexual selection, both males competing for mates and females exerting choice between different males.

"I believe that, to understand an organism, you need to look at it from a number of different levels," she said.

At UNL, Basolo overseas a bevy of undergraduate and graduate research assistants and three labs filled with fish tanks - which hold several thousand specimens of primarily platyfish and green swordtails.



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