Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Zoology grad receives Vern Perish Award

Fri, May 04, 2012


Courtney Passow in fish lab during a feeding experiment.

Zoology graduate student Courtney Passow receives the Vern Perish AwardCourtney Passow

Courtney Passow, a graduate student from Round Rock, Texas, has received the Vern Perish Award from the American Livebearer Association for her research to explore how small fish, called mollies, are genetically able to adapt and live in extreme conditions.

The Texas A&M University graduate says she was drawn to study the mollies because of the extreme environments in which they reside in a drainage basin in southern Mexico known as Tacotalpa. “The fish live in the presence or absence of natural occurring toxic hydrogen sulfide, with or without light in both cave and surface habitats, which offers very diverse habitats for comparative approaches,” said Passow.

Passow first started studying fish while an undergraduate at Texas A&M, where she worked with another livebearing fish known as the swordtail or platyfish.

The Vern Parish Award goes to individuals whose research and future potential contributions will add to the knowledge about and/or assist in the conservation of livebearing fish. The fund for the award was established in memory of Vern Parish, one of ALA's early stalwart members and a friend and benefactor to many aquarists during his lifetime.  The award helps subsidize and to encourage conservation and student research of livebearing fish and also gives status and visibility to the American Livebearer Association as a legitimate member of and contributor to the hobby and ichthyological communities.

For more news from zoology, click here.