Jonathan Velotta

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Contact Information

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut
75 North Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT 06269

Office: Pharmacy/Biology 210
Phone: 860-486-4694

About Me

I am currently a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, working in the lab of Dr. Eric Schultz.

My research interests are broad, but my work centers around the physiological, molecular and evolutionary ecology of fishes

I'm also on Facebook


Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

B.S. Biology
Fairfield University
Research Experience: (1) The role of testosterone in male rat sexual behavior, with Dr. Shannon Harding. (2) Avian stress physiology, with Dr. Brian Walker.

Dissertation Research


My dissertation research focuses on answering questions regarding the osmoregulatory system in bony fishes, that is, the set of physiological mechanisms by which water and ion homoestasis is maintained. Specifically, I am investigating both the micro-evolution and the ontogeny of the osmoregulatory system in an anadromous shad known as the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)

The reason I have chosen to study alewives is because of their interesting life history. Most alewives are anadromous - adults inhabit the open ocean and return yearly to small, freshwater systems to spawn. In addition, multiple populations of alewives have been independently restricted to freshwater systems year-round - a phenomenon known as land-locking. Land-locking in alewives provides a unique opportunity to investigate the specific physiological and molecular adaptations made by fish when they transition from living in seawater to specializing in freshwater - environments that require drastically different methods of osmoregulating. Not only does this represent a significant gap in our knowledge of osmoregulatory physiology, but changes to this system that permitted organisms to specialize in FW represent major evolutionary transitions

My research focuses mainly on the osmoregulatory processes of the gills, since gills are the main site of ion exchange in fish. I will look at how survival, plasma ion content, and gene expression at several candidate osmoregulatory loci differ between landlocked and anadromous alewives.

Alewives are captured using a large purse seine
Gill arch from an adult alewife

Teaching Experience

BIO 1102 - Foundations of Biology
BIO 1108 - Principles of Biology
EEB 3247 - Limnology
EEB 4200 - The Biology of Fishes
MCB 5427 - Laboratory Techniques in Functional Genomics


Harding, S.M., and J.P. Velotta. 2011. Comparing the relative amount of testosterone required to restore sexual arousal, motivation, and performance in male rats. Hormones and Behavior: 59(5), 666-673

Professional Affiliations and Honor Societies

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Fisheries Society
Sigma Xi
Phi Beta Kappa