The Cypriniformes Tree of Life

Undergraduate Research Program

Saint Louis University

University of Minnesota

The University of Alabama

See activities with NSF Cypriniformes REU

See activities with US Army eCybermission

Other Undergraduate Syudents in the Mayden Lab

Our NSF Assembling the Tree of Life (AToL) project focuses on the biodiversity, systematics, and evolution of the World's most diverse group of freshwater fishes - all belonging to the Order Cypriniformes. These fishes display a vast array of life styles, morphologies, behaviors, ecologies, and physiology, to only mention a few of the diverse aspects of their biology. The Cypriniformes Tree of Life initiative (CToL) will provide the scientific and public communities for the first time a reconstructed phylogeny of these important fishes to better understand the origins of these intreging biological attributes, as well as many other important applied and fundamenal questions.

With the great assistance of many undergraduate students working throughout the year in our laboratories we are able to examine many morphological and molecular traits of these fishes to reconstruct these phylogenetic relationships and test several scientific hypotheses. These hypotheses include examining rates of morphological and molecular evolution, patterns of biogeography related to Earth's history, rates and patterns of speciation, and evolution of morphological and ecological complexes.

The various students enjoying this experience from all of our institutions include

Saint Louis University

University of Alabama

University of Minnesota

Richard Mayden, PI and Mentor

Philip Harris, PI and Mentor

Andrew Simons, PI and Mentor

Robert Wood, PI and Mentor

Robby Thompson

David De Paz

Sarah Chamberlain

Alicia Waggoner

Nick Gidmark

Theresa Clouse

Matt Kuehl

Miranda Haskins

Ryan Peterson

Leah Schneider

Rene Wolfe

Mitch Sudkamp

Jennifer Tsau



Part of our experience has included a group meetings at the University of Alabama and University of Minnesota, and sampling in the diverse rivers and streams of Alabama in June and Minnesota in August. At our meeting in August we had a mini symposium on our respective joint research projects.

General Photos of the summer experience
Photos and movies from Alabama 2005
Photos and movies from Minnesota 2005
Our 2005 REU Research Symposium