Shipping container lab

This is a shipping container inside of an old  building…


This is a cutting-edge fish laboratory inside of that shipping container!


Before the holiday break, my collaborator Chris Kopack gave me tour of his new lab. He has been working very hard to build this lab inside of a shipping container! He will be housing hundreds of endangered Arkansas Darters there this semester for an experiment designed to tell us how rearing environment and experience with predators affects the ability of these fish to survive after they are stocked back into natural rivers. Maybe shipping container labs will be the next big thing!

And there are fish in the lab! Check out the tiny darters and the adorable pike predators.

Science Club collecting data

We are almost finished with data collection with the 8th-grade science club. My mentor Dr. Shannon Murphy joined this week, which was fun! We are recording the amount of time individual guppies spend in plant cover versus open water and in light versus shade. We’ll look at the data after the holiday break.

Science in action in Greeley

We decided on a question! We are going to investigate whether wild and domestic guppies have different microhabitat preferences, specifically for light levels and plant cover versus open water. Now we are working out methods. Stay tuned for updates on Bella Romero Science Club!

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Developing a new class!

I have always wanted to develop and teach an upper-level evolution course. See my flier below!


This class will be capped at 20 students so there are infinite options for active learning. I have two months to prep…who has resources to share?


GREEBs this year at RMBL (Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory) was stunning. This was my first visit to Gothic, CO and it might be my favorite GREEBs location yet. CSU and DU were well represented with almost every member of the Angeloni lab giving great talks and many great talks from the Tinghitella and Murphy labs. Here are some pictures from the field station.


Some CSU representatives at GREEBs 2016 (me, Eva Hoffman, Brett Seymoure, Casey Lee, Clif McKee, Lisa Angeloni, Justin Havird, Chris Schell and baby Cairo)

Dr. Dale Broder

Success! You can see that I’m smiling at the end of my seminar because it’s over! I had a lovely time celebrating with friends and family and am so grateful that so many people could be there to celebrate this life event with me. I couldn’t have done it without you so thank you, thank you, thank you.


As usual, I had a fantastic time at ABS this year. I got to meet Frans de Waal, whose book Our Inner Ape was one of the reasons that I became a scientist. I can’t wait to read his new book, which he signed for me 🙂

I saw many fantastic talks and met inspiring scientists, especially Alison Bell, Molly Morris, Oscar Rios, Emilie Snell-Rood, and mayor Phil Stoddard. My favorite talks were from Meredith Steck, Malcom Rosenthal, PA Green, and Ria Ghai. I also got great feedback on my talk (plasticity and evolution of mating behavior) and poster (using guppies to teach evolution). Thanks ABS for another fun conference filled with lovely inspiring people.

Fish training is hard work

Our new paper is online in the Canadian Journal of Zoology!

Since so many hatchery rainbow trout get eaten immediately after stocking, we tried to give them some experience right before they entered the real world. While they were in the truck on the way to the lake, we exposed them to chemical cues that signal them to increase antipredator behavior. Unfortunately, the quick and easy approach isn’t going to cut it. Exposed fish had the same mortality rates as unexposed fish over the 6 months post stocking. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board to try out more complicated predator training protocols. Big congrats to Chris Kopack and coauthors on the paper! Trout photo by Ari Koyama


An office with a view

I got to see Abbie Reade in action, doing research on the roof of the biology building–talk about an office with a view!!! Abbie is studying individual variation in honey bee foraging behavior to try to better understand the evolution of eusociality.

Don't try this at home kids!

Don’t try this at home kids!

Abbie tagged with a green spot

Abbie tagged this bee with a green spot

Bees grab nectar and then head back into the hive

Worker bees grab nectar and then head back into the hive