MSUM Professor Brian Wisenden Co-edits Fish Ecology Book

By Brittany Dunnigan

Ecologist. Teacher. Scholar.

All three of these titles can be used to describe Dr. Brian Wisenden, fish chemical ecologist and professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead. And as of late, he can also claim the title of book editor as Wisenden recently co-edited and contributed two chapters to a new book now available in bookstores and libraries worldwide.

Dr. Brian Wisenden in the MSUM fish lab.
Dr. Brian Wisenden in the MSUM fish lab.

Wisenden completed his university studies in Canada and has taught at MSUM since 1998. An accomplished researcher and writer, his published works have been cited over 2,792 times in various books articles and journals internationally. He is also the managing editor of Behaviour, an international journal interested in all aspects of animal behavior. His recent publication, Fish Pheromones and Related Cues, is the first book he has co-edited and is one of his proudest accomplishments.

Fish Pheromones and Related Cues takes an in-depth look at the biochemistry of fish behavior. Wisenden worked with Dr. Peter Sorensen of the University of Minnesota to compile the knowledge and research of leaders in the field of fish biochemistry to create this synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature.

“There is no other book like it, and it is exciting to see it come to life with the help of so many leaders in the field who submitted their work for this publication,” Wisenden said. “Many (of the contributing authors) are now retiring, so this is a compilation of the extensive knowledge they have gained throughout their 40-year careers combined with our research. We were able to synthesize it all into one volume, which is a big service to the field of fish biochemistry.”

Wisenden and Sorensen specialize in two different areas of fish ecology, which is why combining forces to write this book was so beneficial. Sorensen’s area of expertise is the study of chemical exchanges between fish regulating reproduction. Wisenden’s research focuses on chemically-mediated predator-prey interactions over ecological and evolutionary time scales.

“My area is basically how when a minnow gets eaten, the skin gets damaged by the teeth of the predator and chemicals are released only in that context, so other minnows know not to come near. By these chemicals, the other minnows can also tell what type of predator it is, the diet of the predator, and if it still poses a threat.”

Wisenden completes much of his research with the help of his students. The MSUM Biosciences Department expects faculty to engage students in faculty-mentored research, and Wisenden has gone above and beyond by successfully helping his students get their research published in international publications.

“The level of our undergraduate research distinguishes us from most private schools and research institutions,” Wisenden said. “It’s a graduate student experience at the undergraduate level.”

Wisenden is proud of the work he and his students have accomplished and credits his two-chapter contribution to the book as a reflection of their research and hard work.
Wiley.com describes the book as a must-read for those in this particular field of study. “With far-reaching economic, evolutionary and ecological implications, Fish Pheromones and Related Cues will be an essential volume for anyone working in the fields of chemical communication, fish biology, fisheries science, aquatic conservation, ecology, invasive species control, and aquaculture.”

Fish Pheromones and Related Cues is available through many online book retailers, including amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.