Danielle Fails, a graduate student in the Department of Biology at Sam Houston State University, has begun work on an ambitious research project examining parasitism in lionfish along the Gulf Coast. In this project, Fails will gather samples of the fish, dissect the internal organs, and do a “count” of the number of parasites present, in an attempt to discover how, where, and why, lionfish are losing internal parasites.

Conducting research through the Texas Invasive Species Institute (TISI) of the Texas State University System gives students the opportunity to take control of their own learning. Although this project has created more questions than provided answers, Fails is excited to travel to and gather samples from several states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Fails’ project has created a buzz in the research world, and is beginning to receive a lot of positive attention, according to Sam Houston Director of TISI, Dr. Autumn Smith-Herron. Fails, who explains that her work has allowed her to “meet with some amazing people in the invasive species field,” is currently working on building collaborations and securing funding so that she can continue her research.

Huge props to Danielle for her hard-work! SHSU Research is lucky to have her!