Allen Mensinger

Allen Mensinger picture
Professional Title
Professor and Department Head



  • B.S., 1983, Duke University
  • Ph.D., 1991, University of California

Curriculum Vitae

My laboratory is interested in the neural mechanisms of behavior. We are interested in how fish detect, integrate and respond to external cues in the environment. To achieve this goals, we have developed an implantable electrode and telemetry system to record physiological signals from free swimming fish.

The majority of the research has focused on the marine teleost, Opsanus tau. This work is conducted at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA during the summer months. In addition to neurophysiology, we also conduct ecological, behavioral and mariculture studies. During the academic year, Dr. Mensinger’s graduate students are investigating lateral line sensitivity in catfish, optic nerve regeneration in sunfish and competitive interactions between native and exotic fish. Dedicated undergraduate students are encouraged to contact the laboratory about research opportunities.


My main interest is the neural mechanism of behavior. The lab spends the academic year working with freshwater fish and then travels to the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA to continue our long standing toadfish projects. Although neurophysiology is the main focus of the lab, you will find both graduate and undergraduate students pursuing a wide variety of projects such as nerve regeneration, predator prey interactions and aquaculture.

Recent Publications

  • Murchy, K. A,, Cupp A.R., Amberg, J., Vetter, B.J., Gaikowski, M.P. and A. F. Mensinger. 2015. Evaluation of acoustical barriers for deterring silver (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. noblis) movement Canadian Journal of Fisheries. Submitted

  • Maruska, K.P. & Mensinger, A.F. 2015. Directional sound sensitivity in utricular afferents in the toadfish, Opsanus tau. Journal of Experimental Biology. 218: 1759-1766.

  • Mensinger, A.F. 2015. Multimodal sensory input in the utricle and lateral line of the toadfish, Opsanus tau. Invited peer reviewed book chapter. Fish Hearing and Bioacoustics: An anthology in honor of Arthur N. Popper and Richard R. Fay. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Sisneros, J. editor. In press

  • Vetter, B.J., Cupp A.R., Fredricks, K.T. Gaikowski, M.P. & Mensinger, A.F. 2015. Acoustical deterrence of silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). Biological Invasions, In press.

  • Leino, J. & Mensinger A.F. 2015 Interspecific competition between the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, and the logperch, Percina caprodes, in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. In press

  • Harrington, K.A., Hrabik, T.R. & Mensinger, A.F. 2015. Visual sensitivity of deepwater fishes of Lake Superior. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0116173.

Current Extramural Support

  • NSF 1354745 Mensinger (PI) 8/1/2014 to 7/31/2017

  • Sound localization in free swimming fish: multimodal sensory integration $340K

  • NSF 1359230 Mensinger (PI) 5/1/2014 to 4/30/2017

  • REU: Biological Discovery in Woods Hole $360K

  • Minnesota Environmental Trust Fund Mensinger (PI) 7/1/2014 to 6/30/2017

  • Bioacoustics to Detect, Deter and Eliminate Flying Carp $260K


  • BIOL 3703 Animal Physiology

  • BIOL 3760 Marine Biology

  • BIOL 5772 Neural Mechanisms of Behavior

  • IBS 8103 Comparative Animal Physiology

Current Graduate Student Projects

  • Noland Michels (Ph.D., Integrated Biosciences)

Previous Graduate Students

  • L.J. Rogers (M.S., Integrated Biolsciences)
  • Emily Cardinal

  • Maya Enriquez (DOVE Fellow)

  • Kelsie Murchy

  • Brooke Vetter

Previous UROP Student

  • Jessica Schul