Dana Lawson

Mentor: Dr. Mary Hart
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"My primary interest is in veterinary medicine, so I became involved with research to broaden my horizons and explore other career options. I joined a lab that investigates the life history of certain species of fish through dissection and histological analysis in my sophomore year at UF, and my research has enabled me to learn much more about marine life and to practice research techniques that will be invaluable to me in the future regardless of my eventual career path."


Animal Sciences



Research Interests

  • Sex allocation in simultaneous hermaphrodites
  • Life history of Serranids
  • Veterinary medicine

Academic Awards

  • National Merit Scholarship 2013
  • Anderson Scholars Award with Distinction 2015
  • ASAS Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award 2015-2016
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • UF Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club



Hobbies and Interests


Research Description

Comparison of Methods for Estimating Sex Allocation in Simultaneous Hermaphrodites
In simultaneously hermaphroditic species, individuals have both male and female reproductive organs. Such species may alter their sex allocation in response to changes in their environment. Sex allocation is a measure of how much energy an individual allocates to male reproduction versus female reproduction. In order to measure sex allocation, researchers must estimate how much energy is allocated to male versus female reproduction by comparing the size or mass of the male versus the female reproductive tissue present in an individual.
Two different methods are commonly used to estimate sex allocation in simultaneous hermaphrodites: dry weight analysis and histological analysis. This poses a problem when it comes to comparing the results of different studies that use different methods because these two methods have not been compared to determine whether or not they produce similar estimates of sex allocation. My project aims to investigate how the estimations of sex allocation produced by these two different methods compare to each other.