Alison L. Gould

Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


I study the evolutionary ecology of symbiotic interactions between animals and microbes. My research integrates natural history and behavioral ecology with molecular methods to better understand how these specialized associations are established and how host-symbiont specificity is maintained over time. I am especially interested in a group of bioluminescent coral reef fish (Siphamia) and their symbiosis with luminous bacteria. For my dissertation research, I described the life history, behavior, and ecology of the host fish Siphamia tubifer relative to its symbiosis with the luminous bacterium Photobacterium mandapamensis. At the California Academy of Sciences, I am currently expanding this work across the host genus to better understand how the relationships between hosts and symbionts change and persist through time. Sponsored by an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award I am also developing this bioluminescent symbiosis as a tractable vertebrate-bacteria model to investigate the complex mechanisms regulating our microbiome.

California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118