Weiming Li, Ph.D.

Weiming Li

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Professor; Frederick E.J. Fry Chair for Environmental Physiology
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife



Areas of Expertise:

Chemical ecology, pheromone communication, fish behavior; fish endocrinology, comparative genomics, neurobiology and molecular biology


Dr. Weiming Li, FEJ Fry Chair of Environmental Physiology, is a professor jointly appointed in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Physiology. He is also a faculty member for the Neuroscience Program and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program. Graduate students advised by him have options to pursue advanced degrees in any of the abovementioned departments and programs.

Our overall objective is to develop a better understanding of fish and lamprey biology. Currently, the primary model for our research is the sea lamprey. Research on this model system has resulted in an array of useful and exciting outcomes. The sea lamprey is an invader of the Great Lakes of North America, and is highly destructive to the fish community. Our results have enabled a large scale field experiment to develop effective and environmentally benign methods to control the sea lamprey. Moreover, the sea lamprey is one of the few extant jawless vertebrate species. Lampreys arose at the advent of vertebrate evolution. Through experimentation with the sea lamprey model, we attempt to infer the origin of vertebrate animals, with a focus on evolution of several physiological mechanisms and gene families. We also use teleost species, such as salmonid and goldfish as models in our research. 

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Research Interests:

  • Sex pheromone communication in the sea lamprey
  • Cellular and molecular mechanism of olfaction
  • Elucidation of etiology and pathogenesis of early mortality syndrome by cDNA microarray based identification of expressed genes
  • Discovering new targets for sea lamprey control using DNA microarray
  • Developing procedures for utilizing a sex pheromone in control of sea lamprey populations of the Great Lakes
  • Electroreception in the Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus
  • The identification of reproductive pheromones used by the Round Goby in Michigan waters where the survival of indigenous fishes is threatened
  • Assessment of impacts of contaminants on Atlantic salmon smolts in Maine
  • Identification and characterization of sex steroids in the sea lamprey
  • Characterization of stress responses in the Pacific lamprey
  • Molecular mechanisms of the salmonid thiamin deficiency
  • Osmoregulation of sea lamprey


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