Department of Biology
Home People Faculty Mensinger

B.S., 1983, Duke University
Ph.D., 1991, University of California

Office: 13 SSB
Phone: 726-7259

My laboratory is interested in the neural mechanisms of behavior. We are interested in how fish detect, integrate and respond to external cues in the environment. To achieve this goals, we have developed an implantable electrode and telemetry system to record physiological signals from free swimming fish.

The majority of the research has focused on the marine teleost, Opsanus tau. This work is conducted at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA during the summer months. In addition to neurophysiology, we also conduct ecological, behavioral and mariculture studies. During the academic year, Dr. Mensinger’s graduate students are investigating lateral line sensitivity in catfish, optic nerve regeneration in sunfish and competitive interactions between native and exotic fish. Dedicated undergraduate students are encouraged to contact the laboratory about research opportunities.


My main interest is the neural mechanism of behavior. The lab spends the academic year working with freshwater fish and then travels to the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA to continue our long standing toadfish projects. Although neurophysiology is the main focus of the lab, you will find both graduate and undergraduate students pursuing a wide variety of projects such as nerve regeneration, predator prey interactions and aquaculture.

Recent Publications

  • Maruska, KP, Korzan, WJ, and Mensinger, AF. 2009. Individual, temporal, and population-level variations in circulated 11-ketotestosterone and 17(beta)-estradiol concentrations in the oyster toadfish Opsanus tau. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 152: 569-578.
  • Maruska, KP and Mensinger, AF. 2009. Acoustic characteristics and variations in grunt volcalizations in the oyster toadfish Opsanus tau. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 84:325-337.
  • Begrstrom MA, Evrard LM and Mensinger, AF. 2008. Distribution, Abundance, and Range of the Round Goby, Apollina melanostoma, in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and St. Louis River Estuary, 1998-2004. Journal of Great Lakes Research 34:535-543.
  • Bergstrom, MA and Mensinger AF. 2009. Interspecific resource competition between the invasive round goby and three native species: logperch, slimy sculpin and spoonhead sculpin. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Revisions currently under final review by editor.
  • Mensinger AF, Powers MK. 2007. Visual function in regenerating teleost retina following surgical lesioning. Visual Neurosciense 24:299-307.
  • Callahan MP, Mensinger AF. 2007. Restoration of visual fucntion following optic nerve regenration in blugill (Lepomis macrochirus) x pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) hybrid sunfish. Visual Neuroscience. 24:309-317
  • Mensinger AF, Tubbs ME. Effects of temperature and diet on the growth rate of year 0 oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Biological Bulletin 210 (1): 64-71 Feb 2006
  • Palmer LM, Deffenbaugh M, Mensinger AF. Sensitivity of the anterior lateral line to natural stimuli in the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (Linnaeus) Journal of Experimental Biology 208 (18): 3441-3450 Sep 2005
  • Mensinger AF, Walsh PJ, Hanlon RT. Blood biochemistry of the oyster toadfish Journal of Animal Health 17 (2): 170-176 Jun 2005
  • Mensinger AF, Palmer LM. Detection of free swimming prey via the lateral line in the toadfish, Opsanus tau. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 44 (6): 603-603 Dec 2004
  • Palmer LM, Mensinger AF. Effect of the anesthetic tricaine (MS-222) on nerve activity in the anterior lateral line of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Journal of Neurophysiology. 92 (2): 1034-1041 Aug 2004
  • Palmer, L.M., and A. F. Mensinger. 2004. Effect of the anesthetic tricaine (MS-222) on nerve activity in the anterior lateral line of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Journal of Neurophysiology. 92:1034-1041.


  • BIOL 3703 Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 3760 Marine Biology
  • BIOL 5772 Neural Mechanisms of Behavior
  • IBS 8103 Comparatice Animal Physiology

Current Graduate Students

  • Elise Cordo
  • Kelly Harrington
  • Trevor Keyler
  • Brooke Vetter

Current UROP Students

  • Jessica Schul
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Last modified on 09/18/13 02:36 PM
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