Latest Updates:

May 28th: the organizers of the 7th meeting are signing off, and we look forward to the 8th meeting in Mexico!

May 28th: the conference is over, all the attendants departed safely from Norman and are en route to their homes. Thanks to everybody who helped making this a special conference!

May 27th: congratulations to Kelly Wallace, she won the Award for the Best Student Presentation.

May 22nd: we have an extra poster by David Reznick entitled “Experimental Study of the Population Dynamics of an Invasion”. Make sure you see it.

May 22nd: weather looks good for the conference (

May 18th: here is the final program.

Welcome to 7th Conference of Poeciliid Biologists at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma May 2017

Dear delegates, welcome to the University of Oklahoma and Norman! It is a privilege to have you here for the meeting. Our goal is to make your visit as productive and fun as possible, so please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have or sharing any concerns you.

The organizers thank the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Department of Biology for financial support, and the OCCE for excellent logistical support. Debby Kaspari ( provided the original artwork for the logo, which was rendered by Kristina Schlegel. Thanks to both!

For all things that have to do with the conference, please keep an eye on the conference website (; this will be updated frequently and have all the latest information.

The weather

Norman is the bulls-eye of what is called Tornado Alley. Please keep an eye on the local weather and be prepared for severe weather.

The conference venue

The conference will be held at the OCCE Thurman J. White Forum Building (red circle on the map below).

The building is located on the corner of Asp & Timberdell. There is ample parking available in front of the building.

The sessions will be held in Room A1. Refreshments during the breaks will be served just outside of the meeting room. Posters will be on display in the hallway outside the meeting room throughout the conference.

A full campus map can be found here:

A printed map and additional information on OU and Norman is found in your bag. We recommend that you download the “VisitNorman” app for your smartphone.


Free Wifi is available in the building. Select the OU Guest network and follow instructions.


Social Media

The conference has a Facebook Page (, and a Twitter handle: @poeciliids17.


Getting around

If you are staying at the Sooner Legend Hotel, a free Shuttle service will be available to you. Please let them know that you will need transportation. The trip from the hotel to the conference venue takes about 25 minutes. Please plan accordingly.

Detailed Program

Tuesday May 23rd (Day 0):

Informal gathering from 6pm to 8pm at Blackbirds, come and go as you can. No transportation can be provided. (575 S. University, Norman, OK 73069, 405.928.5555).

Wednesday May 24th (Day 1):

Registration starts at 8am. * denotes a student presentation.


0820 Opening remarks
0830 Dan Blackburn[1]: Viviparity in Poeciliids and other Fishes:  A Functional and Evolutionary Perspective
0930-0950 BREAK
Session 1 (Chair: Dan Blackburn)
0950-1010 Manfred Schartl: Evolution of sex determining mechanisms and sex chromosomes in Poeciliids
1010-1030 Ron Walter: Waveband Specific Gene Expression in Xiphophorus
1030-1050 * Kimberly Dolphin: How does social environment and experience affect male courtship strategies in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata)?
1050-1110 BREAK
1110-1130 David Bierbach: Individuality in leadership dynamics in Trinidadian guppies revealed through tests with biomimetic robots
1130-1150 Michael Sandel: Guppy Dermal Mucosa as a Coevolutionary Hotspot and Vector for Zoonotic Mycobacteria
1150-1210 Gil Rosenthal: Mate choice, speciation, and hybridization in Xiphophorus
1210 Lunch
Poster Session
1330 Joanna Kelley: Gene regulation and the evolution of hydrogen sulfide loving fish
Session 2 (Chair: Joanna Kelley)
1400-1420 Pablo Weaver: The West Indian Limia (Poeciliidae): historical biogeography and modern species distributions
1420-1440 * Rodet Rodriguez: Current knowledge of Cuban livebearing fishes and perspectives for future research
1440-1500 Alexander Cruz: Female Mating Preferences in Limia perugiae (Poeciliidae) populations from clear and turbid waters
1500-1520 BREAK
1520-1540 * Trai Spikes: The Cost of Being a Choosy Male: The Relationship between Reproductive Investment and Mate Preference
1540-1600 Joel Trexler: Tracing resource contributions to population dynamics of Poecilid consumers using fatty acids
1600-1620 * Jessica Sanchez: Testing alternative hypotheses for the evolution of herbivory using the Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna): An enclosure study in the Florida Everglades
1620-1720 Roundtable 1: The Future of Stockcenters
Led by Manfred Schartl & Ron Walter
 1800 Opening Reception 6-8 PM Mainsite Gallery


Thursday May 25th (Day 2):

Registration is available throughout the day.


0830 Kim Hughes: Genomics, serendipity and evolution of poeciliid fishes
0930-0950 BREAK
Session 3 (Chair: Kim Hughes)
0950-1010 * Samantha Levell: Maternal Effects on Reproduction and Fitness in the Least Killifish, Heterandria formosa
1010-1030 * Martina Magris: Artificial insemination unveils a first-male fertilisation advantage in the guppy
1030-1050 * Kelly Wallace: Investigating individual variation in cognition and behavior in Gambusia affinis
1050-1110 BREAK
1110-1130 Miguel Barbosa: Variation in individual behaviour and life history strategies in response to heterogeneity in predator risk
1130-1150 Amy Deacon: How to be a successful invader: lessons from the Trinidadian guppy
1210 boxed Lunch
Afternoon Activities on your own
Dinner on your own



Friday May 26th (Day 3):

Registration is available throughout the day.


0830 Constantino Macías García: One theory to explain them all; how poeciliid research illuminates the study of goodeid biology
0930-0950 BREAK
Session 4 (Chair: Constantino Macías García)
0950-1010 Jarred Lee: The invasion history of mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) into Asia
1010-1030 * Francesco Santi: Life histories of guppies (Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1869; Poeciliidae) from the Pitch Lake in Trinidad
1030-1050 Bronwyn Bleakly: Mechanisms of phenotypic matching during cooperative antipredator behavior in Trinidadian guppies
1050-1110 BREAK
1110-1130 Kate Laskowski: Individuality emerges in a clonal fish despite near-identical rearing conditions
1130-1150 Parrish Brady: Dynamic polarization signaling alters female mate preference in swordtails
1150-1210 Douglas Fraser: An introduction of guppies creates a paradox of coexistence among intraguild predators
1210 Lunch
Poster Session
1330 Clelia Gasparini: Postcopulatory sexual selection : insights from the guppy
Session 5 (Chair: Clelia Gasparini)
1400-1420 * Nicci Carpenter: Variation of parasite assemblages in the Paluxy River and the effect on host fitness
1420-1440 Edie Marsh-Matthews: Temperature affects recruitment of Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, in mesocosms
1440-1500 Ingo Schlupp: Male mate choice in Poeciliids
1500-1600 Roundtable 2: Research in Mexico
Led by Constantino Macias Garcia
 1800 Banquet Sam Noble Museum 6-9 PM
Edie Marsh-Matthews and Ingo Schlupp: Closing remarks



Poster Presentations


* Juan Carlos Campuzano Caballero: Evidence of sperm storage into the gonoduct of Gambusia affinis and Xiphophorus helleri

* Marcela Méndez Janovitz: Sexually-selected sexual selection and the origin of female colouration

Amber Makowicz: Female-female aggression in a sexual/asexual species complex.

Markita Savage: The Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center: A National Research Resource and Scientific Treasure

Bruce Stallsmith: Seasonal Reproductive Differences Between Three Species of Brachyrhaphis Fishes In Panama

Mari-Carmen Uribe & Harry Grier: Fertilization and development of the fertilization plug and its changes during gestation in Heterandria formosa


Shuttle Schedule to and from Sooner Legends Hotel

Day 1 Wednesday May 24th:

Conference starts at 08:20am. Registration opens at 08:00am.

07:30am 1st Shuttle leaves hotel and drops off at OCCE.

08:00am 2nd shuttle (if needed) leaves hotel and drops off same location


Opening reception at Mainsite Gallery starts at 06:00pm.

04:45pm 1st shuttle picks up from OCCE and takes guest to hotel

05:20pm 2nd shuttle (if needed) repeats

06:00pm shuttle takes guest to Mainsite Gallery from hotel

08:30pm shuttle picks up from Mainsite Gallery back to hotel and repeats if needed


Day 2 Thursday May 25th:

Conference starts at 08:30am.

07:45am 1st Shuttle leaves hotel and drops off at OCCE.

08:15am 2nd shuttle (if needed) leaves hotel and drops off same location

05:00pm 1st shuttle picks up from OCCE and takes guest to hotel

05:30pm 2nd shuttle (if needed) repeats


Day 3 Friday May 26th:

Conference starts at 08:30am.

07:45am 1st Shuttle leaves hotel and drops off at OCCE.

08:15am 2nd shuttle (if needed) leaves hotel and drops off same location


Banquet at Sam Noble Museum begins at 06:00 pm

04:00pm 1st shuttle picks up from OCCE and takes guest to hotel

04:30pm 2nd shuttle (if needed) repeats

05:45pm shuttle takes guest to Sam Noble Museum from hotel

06:15pm second shuttle repeats if needed


09:00pm shuttle picks up from Sam Noble Museum back to hotel and repeats if needed



List of Participants


Miguel Barbosa University of St Andrews
David Bierbach Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
Daniel Blackburn Trinity College (Hartford)
Bronwyn Bleakley Stonehill College
Parrish Brady University of Texas at Austin
Juan Campuzano Caballero UNAM
Nicci Carpenter Tarleton State University
Alexander Cruz University of Colorado at Boulder
Amy Deacon The University of the West Indies
Kimberly Dolphin Colorado State University
Kristin Edwards UC Riverside
Douglas Fraser Siena College
Clelia Gasparini University of Western Australia
Kimberly Hughes Florida State University
Joanna Kelley Washington State University
Katie Laskowski Leibniz-Institute for Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries
Jared Lee Southern Virginia University
Samatha Levell UC Riverside
Constantino Macías Garcia Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Martina Magris University of Padua
Edie Marsh-Matthews University of Oklahoma
William Matthews University of Oklahoma
Marcela Mendez-Janovitz UNAM
Sidney Pack
Sarah Price UT Austin
Mary Ramsey University of Texas
Luke Reding University of Texas at Austin
Rodet Rodriguez Silva University of Oklahoma
Jessica Sanchez Florida International University
Michael Sandel The University of West Alabama
Francesco Santi Royal Holloway, University of London
Markita Savage Texas State University
Manfred Schartl University of Würzburg
Ingo Schlupp University of Oklahoma
Montrai Spikes University of Oklahoma
Bruce Stallsmith University of Alabama in Huntsville
Joel Trexler Florida International University
Mari Carmen Uribe Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Kelly Wallace University of Texas at Austin
Ronald Walter Texas State University
Pablo Weaver University of La Verne


[1] A note on presenters: we list only the presenting author.


May 18th: Program overview updated! Bill Matthews’ talk was replaced with a talk by Nicci Carpenter.

May 15th: Weather forecast for the conference:

May 9th: here is the twitter handle for the conference: @poeciliids17

May 9th: A quick note on transportation: many of the participants are staying at Sooner Legends. The hotel will provide a shuttle service to the venue and back, but if you bring a car it would be nice to offer rides to fellow participants. Please let the hotel staff know that you will need transportation. The trip from the hotel to the conference venue takes about 25 minutes. Kindly plan accordingly.

May 9th: Sponsored by Edie Marsh Matthews there will be an Award for the best student presentation (both Graduate and Undergraduate Students will be considered). The winner will receive a check in the amount of US$ 250,-. The winner will be celebrated at the banquet! All student presentations will be identified in the program and an international panel of judges will evaluate all presentations.


Preliminary Program Update: important new information!

Quick overview of the program:

You can still sign up to attend.

We have added a new feature to the conference: Roundtables. Here we can discuss important topics as a community. The topics for this conference will be: The Future of Stockcenters and Research in Mexico.

If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know about them via e-mail so that we can inform the caterer.

Thursday afternoon will be a day for networking and exploration. Here is a list of suggested things to do.

Conference related: Tour of the Aquatic Research Facility (with thousands of fishes!). (e-mail Ingo if you are interested). No cost.

Norman Campus:

History of Science Collection: the current exhibit revolving around Galileo is amazing. A guided tour will be given at 1:30 on Thursday. The exhibit is on the 5th floor of the west side of the Bizzell Library. The tour group will meet in the Foyer of the Collection on the 5th floor. Also explore the Lower Level of the Library and look around the modern learning environment OU has created. No cost.

Fred Jones Museum of Art: given the size of Norman we have a wonderful Art Museum: the permanent collection has a focus on American Art, and as you walk across campus you will notice numerous sculptures, including works by Allan Houser. A sculpture by Houser is also greeting you in the Will Rogers Airport as you arrive by air. The Museum is open until 9 pm on Thursday! No cost.

Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: this absolutely outstanding and Award winning museum is probably a must see! And you will be in town just after the newest exhibit on Meteors has opened. A favorite are the displays of natural biodiversity in Oklahoma. Allow yourself to be surprised! There are also priceless artifacts displayed exploring the history of man in the region. This is also the venue for our closing banquet. Before the banquet you will have an hour to explore the exhibition galleries.

National Weather Center: this impressive joint venture of OU, State, and Federal Agencies can be visited, too. Because this is a Federal Building, tours are only possible by reservation. This option is closed now.

For things to do in Norman check out this webpage: This is a great starting point to plan your afternoon and evening. VisitNorman is also the name of an app (available for iPhones and Android) which you should download for your visit.

A short walk from our venue is Campus Corner (, with nice bars, coffee shops, and good restaurants. Ask the locals for their favorite places!

Main Street, another center with great food, is a few blocks north of campus. Europeans would still consider this walking distance…… There are several very nice eateries and bars.

If you don’t mind a 30 minute drive you can check out Oklahoma City, a vibrant, growing community that is proud of it’s friendly atmosphere. Highly recommended is the Bricktown district.

Finally, if you crave nature, we recommend the nearby Wichita Mountains, a great area for hiking and watching free roaming bison. This is about an hour’s drive away.

Also a short hour (by car) south of Norman is the Chickasaw Cultural Center, which provides a unique view of Chickasaw Culture. This is a delightful place to visit.

For more information on all the things to do in Norman, OKC, or Oklahoma consult the TravelOklahoma website.

General information

Please plan to arrive on the 23rd, because the conference will begin in the morning of the 24th with our first Plenary Speaker, followed by contributed talks! In the afternoon we will have a second plenary, followed by another set of contributed talks. Several breaks will allow us to chat and network.

The first day of the conference will be crowned by an opening reception in the MainSite Gallery, a beautiful venue right on Main Street with plenty of options to have fun after the reception.

Day two will use essentially the same format, but the afternoon is reserved for networking.

The final day of the conference is again featuring two plenary talks and several contributed papers. The conference will end festively with a banquet at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, a must-see in Norman.

Invited Speakers

We are planning on three Plenary talks of 45 minutes each by very established scientists, one on each morning of the three conference. The afternoon sessions will be opened by invited “future stars” with 30 minute talks. All other slots are completely open. We will fill the available slots on a first come, first serve basis. We will not request abstracts.

Here is the roster of colleagues who have kindly agreed to give plenary talks:

Dan Blackburn (Trinity College): “Poeciliid Viviparity: A Functional and Evolutionary Perspective”

Kim Hughes (Florida State University): “Genomics, serendipity and evolution of poeciliid fishes”

Constantino Macias Garcia (UNAM): “One theory to explain them all; how poeciliid research illuminates the study of goodeid biology”


And here are the future stars that have agreed to share their research with us:

Joanna Kelley (Washington State University): “Gene regulation and the evolution of hydrogen sulfide loving fish”

Amy Deacon (The University of the West Indies): “How to be a successful invader: lessons from the Trinidadian guppy”

Clelia Gasparini (University of Western Australia):”Postcopulatory sexual selection : insights from the guppy”