MSU Electric Fish Lab

Outreach and Education:

Currently Teaching:

Evolution (IBIO445 - Spring)

Processes of evolutionary change in animals, plants. Microbes. Population genetics, microevolution, speciation, adaptive radiation, macroevolution. Origin of Homo sapiens.

Previously Taught:

Evolutionary Biology (PLB/ZOL 849 - Fall)

Major conceptual, theoretical and empirical questions in evolutionary biology. Readings and lectures are synthesized in student discussions and papers.

Developmental Biology (IBIO 320 - Fall)

Principles of development, emphasizing vertebrates. Illustrations from morphological and experimental investigations.

MSU NGS Methods Reading Group (IBIO 890 - Fall)

A reading group for graduate students, postdocs and faculty on using next-generation sequencing methods.

Neurobiología de la Conducta Social RNA-seq

A workshop taught in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2019


Public outreach is a huge component of our work! You will find many members of the laboratory working out in Michigan and around the country, educating children and adults alike about our research! We’ve built a number of devices that highlight the unique abilities of electric fish using multiple senses, including light. Of course, one example of this is our favorite holiday classic on campus, the Electric Fish Christmas Tree, which you can behold from the comfort of your own home, or even build yourself! If you’re feeling particularly festive, come visit it in the basement of Natural Sciences where it is displayed every year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s!

Several members of the lab are also active in training teachers on using electric fish in their classrooms, through participation in the Kellogg Biological Stations’ GK-12 Program. Shown here are Mau and Savvas lecturing during one of these recent training sessions. In the coming months, watch this space as we will be developing new materials for teachers and sharing them on this website! While there is certainly a strong biological component to our work, our curriculum modules can be well integrated into middle-school physics classrooms as a way to discuss “forms of energy”. Did you know that electric fishes inspired the design of the voltaic pile?

Of course, learning about Electric Fish can be fun and games! We’ve come up with some clever ways of getting students to think about anatomy and physiology, too. An example of this was the development of a fun game designed by Kat: “Pin the electrocyte on the electric fish!” We’ve been getting calls from Milton-Bradley (We kid..) The kids that visited us at MSU’s Science Festival sure dug it though! In 2016, we participated in Science Night: East Lansing throughout the month of November, and met hundreds of kids and their parents, and of course introduced them to the wonders of electric fish. We’ll undoubtedly be taking our road show into elementary schools again this fall, so stay tuned!

Public Engagement:

Dr. Gallant gives lectures and has appeared in a variety of media outlets around the country and state to discuss electric fish and the laboratory’s latest findings. Below are a few of our more favorite outreach experiences: