Summer, 2019 - present

I was appointed chair of the NAU Biology department in Summer, 2019, with 60 faculty, 100+ graduate students and 2700 undergrad majors.

Fall, 2018

Claire Fox, one of the students I mentored at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Marine Labs in 2016, and now a doctoral student at Cornell, has been working on "walking" in flatfish. Her paper (on which I'm a co-author) has been picked up by National Geographic.

Summer, 2018

Another successful summer of research and teaching at FHL.

Summer, 2016

friday harbor marine lab

Friday Harbor Labs

I'll be co-teaching the Fish Functional Morphology Class and doing research at Friday Harbor Marine Labs this summer with Dr. Adam Summers, from July 19-August 19. Friday Harbor Labs are part of the University of Washington System, and are located on San Juan Island, in the Puget Sound, near the U.S.-Canada border.

April, 2016

bony tail chub

Bonytail chub, Gila elegans

Why does the bonytail chub have such a bony tail? The tail design makes this fish a powerful swimmer, well adapted to the historically fast flowing Colorado River. It appears likely that periodic releases of water from the dam, which simulate historic flooding patterns, will help with the preservation of this native species, giving it back its advantage over non-natives which are not as effective at holding station. My research was featured on our local NPR station, KNAU, on the program, "Brain Food" hosted by Bonnie Stevens.

Summer, 2014

fish roll

My research is featured on the Aug. 27 NAU News page! Some fish will leap out of water to escape a predator, but the dramatic exit doesn't do much good without an effective technique for returning. The mosquitofish, it turns out, not only finds its way back—it chooses the most energy-efficient method for doing so. This work has been accepted for publication in PLOS1.

Fall, 2013

In Fall 2013, I was away on sabbatical at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, working with Dr. Patricia Wright's Lab Group. I'm still on sabbatical, but now back in Flagstaff for the Spring 2014 semester.

University of Guelph


March, 2013

Alice Gibb and three colleagues were featured in Science for their symposium, “Vertebrate Land Invasions—Past, Present, and Future,” presented at the 2013 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, held in San Francisco Jan. 3-7.

August, 2012: One of our research graphics made the cut in the Information Is Beautiful Awards.

Information is beautiful awards

Our graphic was submitted in the data visualization category and the competition is visually stunning!

February, 2012: Gibb Lab Research on KNAU's Earthnotes and Inside NAU

native fish feeding

Native fish (roundtail chub) feeding on algae in Fossil Creek, AZ

photo credit: Matt O'Neill, AZ Game and Fish

Our ongoing research on the native fishes of the Colorado River watershed was featured on KNAU's Earthnotes program.

A more detailed summary of the work appears on the Inside NAU page.

This work has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Zoology.

More facts about native Sonora sucker and Roundtail chub.

October 2011: Jumping fish make the news!

jumping fish

The time-elapsed image above, taken by Dr. Alice Gibb at Northern Arizona University, shows the mosquitofish's ability to move outside of water with apparent skill and purpose. The study suggests that vertebrates may have invaded land more frequently than previously thought. Click here to watch video clips of the jumping behavior the researchers observed in several species of fish.

Media Coverage

BBC Nature | Discover Magazine | CBC Radio As It Happens | Inside NAU | Wired | New Scientist


Confluence of Little Colorado River and Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

photo credit: David Ward, Arizona Game and Fish

General Research Interests

I am interested in the physiological and morphological basis of behaviors critical to individual fitness, especially prey capture and locomotion. Although I am broadly interested in functional morphology and comparative physiology, my research focuses on several specific aspects of these disciplines.

1. Developmental Physiology

The development of behaviors and their associated physiological systems.

2. Environmental Functional Morphology


The Hornyhead turbot: Pleuronichthys verticalis

photo credit: Alice Gibb

The relationship between animal performance and survival in the wild.

3. Biomechanics

The physical constraints that intrinsic and extrinsic factors place on behaviors.

Collaborators at NAU

I work closely with a number of other researchers here at NAU including Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa, Dr. Jane Marks, Dr. Stan Lindstedt and Dr. Cathy Propper.

Collaborators elsewhere

Some of my regular collaborators at other institutions include Dr. Miriam Ashley-Ross at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, Dr. Lara Ferry at Arizona State University West in Phoenix, AZ, Dr. Patricia Hernandez at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, Dr. John Long at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY, Dr. Ryan Earley at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL, Dr. Patricia Wright at the University of Guelph, in Guelph Ontario, Canada, and Dr. Adam Summers, Friday Harbor Marine Labs, University of Washington.

Dr. Alice Gibb

Office: Biology 227
Office Phone: (928) 523-1524
Lab: Biology 219

Postdoc: CSU Fullerton '97-'99
PhD: UC Irvine '97
BA: Mount Holyoke '89
Northern Arizona University, Biology Department, P.O. Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011