University of Richmond Biologist Eugene Maurakis Awarded NSF Grant for Documentary Focusing on Freshwater Fish Research

January 26, 2021

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Eugene Maurakis, an evolutionary biologist who specializes in environmental sciences, has received more than $200K in grant support from the National Science Foundation for research on freshwater fishes in Virginia.

Photo of fishThis research investigates breeding behaviors and selfish herd theory of nest-building freshwater fishes, an understudied ecological community. Studying nest-building fishes can provide the basis for environmental policy and monitoring and assessment tools for stream ecosystems. The research can also determine how these fishes influence other species.

This four-year project, a collaboration with Virginia Tech’s Departments of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Civil and Environmental Engineering, specifically studies selfish parental care of egg and larvae in mixed-species communal nest-breeding freshwater fishes with a focus on sharing information with the general public.

Photo of fish“This project includes a diverse and interdisciplinary team of engineers and biologists,” Maurakis said. “We will produce a natural history documentary grounded in science, yet interpreted with art, dance, animations, and music, so the general public has multiple ways of understanding science content.”

“The documentary component is especially important as access to videos for teaching has taken on increased importance as field labs navigate the pandemic,” Maurakis added.

Maurakis is a visiting research scientist in the Department of Biology and adjunct professor of liberal arts in the School of Professional & Continuing Studies. He also serves as science advisor for Virginia Public Media and Chief Scientist Emeritus of Science Museum of Virginia He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Richmond and completed his Ph.D. at The George Washington University.