Alison L. Gould

PhD, 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. I previously described the life history, behavior, and ecology of the sea urchin cardinalfish (Siphamia tubifer) relative to its symbiosis with its luminous bacterial symbiont (Photobacterium mandapamensis). At the California Academy of Sciences, I am expanding this work across the host genus to better understand how the relationships between hosts and their microbial symbionts change and persist through time. Also sponsored by an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award I am developing this bioluminescent symbiosis as a tractable model system to investigate the mechanisms regulating the often complex relationships between animals and beneficial bacteria. Check out our lab website for more details!


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