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Richard Gonzalez, PhD

Professor, Biology

Rick Gonzalez, PhD, joined the faculty in1992.  He teaches an upper-division “W” course in vertebrate physiology, senior seminar and introductory courses in the major.  He is a comparative animal physiologist focusing on the respiratory, acid-base, and ion regulation physiology of aquatic animals.

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Education

PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Biology (1989)
BS, University of Kansas, Biology (1981)

Post-doctoral fellow, McMaster University, Canada, and the University of Chicago.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Gonzalez’s research examines the respiratory, acid-base, and ion regulation physiology of aquatic animals that inhabit harsh environments.  His primary focus has been to understand how fish that inhabit the extremely salt-poor and acidic Rio Negro, a blackwater tributary of the Amazon River, regulate internal salts.  Waters like the Rio Negro’s make it difficult for fish to regulate salts and he has identified specializations that allow certain Rio Negro fish to maintain salt balance and thrive in such waters.  He is currently working to identify transport proteins involved in salt transport across the gills of these fish, in low pH waters.

Teaching Interests

Gonzalez teaches an upper-division course in vertebrate physiology that examines basic physiological topics, such as gas exchange, circulation, and water and salt balance.  The lab portion of the course simulates on a small scale the process of doing physiological research.  It involves, literature review, hypothesis formation, hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis, and a whole bunch of writing.