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Tamra Mendelson


Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences 426


Ph D Duke University 2001

BS University of Wisconsin 1991


Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin, PhD in Zoology from Duke University.

Research Interests

Research in my lab focuses on the causes and consequences of evolutionary changes in communication systems. Using a colorful group of North American freshwater fish called darters, we ask the following questions: Why does mating communication evolve over time? How does the rate of communication evolution compare with ecological divergence and other reproductive barriers? (Why) Are individuals attracted only to members of their own species? By addressing these questions, we're trying to understand why male color patterns have diversified so extensively in this group, what are the consequences of that divergence, and what general principles about the ecology and evolution of communication can we learn by studying these beautiful fish?

Teaching Interests

BIOLOGY 142: Foundations of Ecology and Evolution
BIOLOGY 481: Advanced Topics in Evolution
BIOLOGY 760: Graduate Seminar in Ecology and Evolution

Intellectual Contributions

Ciccotto, Patrick J., Mendelson, Tamra C. (2017). The evolution of male nuptial colour in a sexually dimorphic group of fishes (Percidae: Etheostomatinae). 90 0768-1784 Journal of Fish Biology.

Roberts, Natalie S., Mendelson, Tamra C. (2017). Male mate choice contributes to behavioral isolation in sexually dimorphic fish with traditional sex roles. 130 1-7 Animal Behaviour.

Martin, Michael D., Mendelson, Tamra C. (2016). The accumulation of reproductive isolation in early stages of divergence supports a role for sexual selection. 29 676 Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Ciccotto, Patrick J., Mendelson, Tamra C. (2016). The ecological drivers of nuptial color evolution in darters (Percidae: Etheostomatinae). 4. 70 745–756 Evolution.

Martin, Michael D., Mendelson, Tamra C. (2016). Male behaviour predicts trait divergence and the evolution of reproductive isolation in darters (Percidae: Etheostoma). 112 179–186 Animal Behaviour.

Mendelson, Tamra C., Martin, Michael D., Flaxman, Samuel M. (2014). Mutation-order divergence by sexual selection: diversification of sexual signals in similar environments as a first step in speciation. 9. 17 1053–1066 Ecology letters.

Smith, Tracy A., Ciccotto, Patrick J., Mendelson, Tamra C., Page, Larry M. (2014). . 2. 2014 257-268 Copeia.

Mendelson, Tamra C., Shaw, Kerry L. (2012). The (mis) concept of species recognition. 8. 27 421–427 Trends in ecology & evolution.

Smith, Tracy A., Mendelson, Tamra C., Page, Larry M. (2011). . 6. 107 579–588 Heredity.


Mendelson, Tamra C (Author & Presenter). Invited seminar: University of Georgia. Seminar. "Does the mind matter?: How visual preferences contribute to speciation in darters," Department of Genetics. (Jan 1, 2017).

Mendelson, Tamra C (Author & Presenter). Gordon Research Conference for Speciation. Oral Presentation. "The link between sexual selection and reproductive isolation is not straightforward," Gordon Research Conference. (Jan 1, 2017).