A Study On Aggression Between Cichlids Endemic To Different Locations

Andrew Li, Brian Dempsey (Research Mentor)

Presented on 2022 New England Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS) . March 24, 2022.

Poster | Full Paper.


By qualitatively observing interactions between cichlids for nearly a year, the author observed many intriguing behaviors and patterns. One such observation is that the Lake Malawi (East African) cichlids showed more aggression towards each other than towards the American cichlids in the same aquarium. This raised an interesting scientific question: are cichlids more aggressive to cichlids endemic to the same location or endemic to different locations? To answer this question, the author tracked the aggression that an Orange Peacock cichlid (from Lake Malawi) showed towards the other inhabitants of the aquarium, which contains cichlids from both Lake Malawi and other regions. The aggression model used in this research is derived from that of Alward et al.. The author recorded results from repeated observations over a month, and analyzed the experiment data using 95% confidence interval error bars on a scatter plot to determine any statistically significant differences. This research shows that a) Lake Malawi peacock cichlids demonstrate significantly higher levels of dominance-asserting aggression, such as chasing, to their fellow Lake Malawi cichlids than to cichlids from other regions, and b) Lake Malawi peacock cichlids demonstrate equal levels of aggression to both Lake Malawi cichlids and other cichlids when the aggression is in a territorial form such as biting, face-to-face aggression, and lateral displays. This research introduces an interesting new aspect to consider when researchers try to understand how certain cichlids may react to invasive species.

Detection of HLA-DR in Immune Cells by Western Blot

Andrew Li, Hong Wang (Research Mentor)

Research Internship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Summer 2022.