Kent Dunlap

Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Trinity College
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Tel: 860-297-2232; Fax: 860-297-2538


B.A. 1985 Macalester College,

Ph.D. 1993 University of Washington - Seattle


Biol 140L Biological Systems

Biol 203L Cellular Basis of Life

Biol 319L Animal Physiology

Biol 373L Sensory Biology

Biol 456L Biology of Communication

FYS 211 Sense and Nonsense


We examine social and hormonal regulation of brain cell formation and communication behavior in adult electric fish. South American weakly electric fish are nocturnally active and live in muddy waters of the Amazon River basin. They use their electric discharges both for locating objects in the environment and for communicating with each other. During social behavior, such as aggression and courtship, fish emit distinct electric signals, termed “chirps”. Long-term social interaction enhances the production of chirps and increases cell addition near the region of the brain that controls chirping. This suggests that changes in neurogenesis and communication behavior are causally linked. Treatment with the adrenal steroid cortisol partially mediates the connection between social interaction and neurogenesis. In our present research we explore the role of social novelty and locomotor behavior in promoting neurogenesis in adult electric fish.

Summaries of Current Research Projects

Electric Fish Publications

* denotes Trinity College student

Other Publications

General E-Fish info

Electric Fish Links

Apternotus leptorhynchus electric field movie

Present Research Students: Lorenzo Sewanan '12 & Anson McCook '12

Past Research Students



Created by Dan McDevit '01and Doris Luk '05