Hello and thank you for stopping by!

My name is Lian Guo and I am an early-career scientist who studies the physiology and ecology of fishes. I aim to conduct research and outreach that will further conservation of ecologically or economically important fish species, like river herring.

To learn more about me, my research, or my outreach, click around and stay awhile! Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or constructive criticism.

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” 
― Rachel Carson




Graduate Program:

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Research Interests:

Fish ecophysiology, thermal ecology, environmental toxicology, and human-fish interactions



Other sites:

OEB Student Page

ResearchGate Profile

LinkedIn Profile

That's Life [Science] Author Page



I lived most of my early life in Southern California, where I gained a healthy appreciation for sun and the majestic Pacific Ocean. I chose to get a liberal arts education at Scripps College, where I studied the thermal ecology of intertidal barnacles. During summers I interned at Southwest Fisheries Science Center, where I fell in love with applied biological research. For graduate school, I was ready to experience a new place and new ecosystems, which is how I ended up in Massachusetts.

Why Fish?


I can watch fish for hours. After watching Blue Planet and snorkeling with fish in the South Pacific, Galapagos, and Caribbean, I was hooked by their interesting behaviors and diverse morphology.  As a 16-year-old, I took a summer Marine Management course, where I learned about numerous marine issues, including overfishing, ocean acidification, marine pollution, and shark finning. Given that fish provide 1/5th of the world's protein and are essential for healthy marine/freshwater ecosystems, I was shocked I hadn't heard of these issues before and that we weren't doing more as a society to improve the situation. I resolved then to work toward improved conservation and management of fish by 1) conducting applied scientific research and 2) spreading awareness of these issues though outreach and science communication.

Why Ecophysiology?


While I knew I wanted to do research that would help conservation of fish species, my research focus took longer to develop. During my senior thesis, I became increasingly fascinated with the physiological adaptations that organisms have to survive environmental stressors, like high temperature or low oxygen. In applied ecology, we often look for trends in processes, rather than understanding the mechanisms that drive those trends. In my current research, I want to explore how fish physiology is affected by a range of ecologically-relevant temperatures under high and low food availability. 


August 2015 - Current

Exploring the effects of temperature and food availability on juvenile river herring bioenergetics and fitness-based performances.

SESYNC - Fishing and Urban Inequality

October 2017 - Current

Interdisciplinary research graduate pursuit, examining inequalities in urban areas in fishing access, scientific integrity of fish toxicology data, and health outcomes in subsistence fisher communities.

BDE-47 Reproductive Toxicology

January 2016 - July 2016

Examined perinatal effects of flame retardant BDE-47 exposure on gene expression in male rat testis.

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Southern California Bight Rockfish Biogeography

May 2011 - July 2015

Genetically identified larval rockfish from plankton tows to assess efficacy of marine protected areas in protecting rockfish populations.

Undergraduate Senior Thesis - Barnacle Thermal Acclimation

July 2013 - December 2013

Assessed the effects of acclimation to constant versus variable thermal regimes on barnacle thermal tolerance.

Chemical Control of Crown-of-thorns Starfish

April 2013 - May 2013

Tested the efficacy of a novel control solution in culling crown-of-thorns starfish in the laboratory and field.

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My research wouldn't be possible without the help of amazing undergraduates. Learn more about my students here!

As scientists, we often try to remove ourselves from our work in order to remain as objective as possible. The problem is that humans are integral to the scientific process; when we forget or ignore that fact, our science suffers for it. Achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion for people from all cultural backgrounds is a difficult but essential task if we want to conduct equitable and just science.
We need 1) to make our academic institutions and professional workplaces welcoming to all and 2) conduct inclusive science which protects the most vulnerable communities among us. We will not be perfect as we work to achieve this, but a process of mistakes and growth is essential to making any progress at all - just like the scientific method.

Find resources for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM! Many of them are conservation/fisheries/academic themed as those are the circles I am part of.

I have been involved in several efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion at my academic institution and in the professional workplace. I share examples of this work to share ideas for organizing and making progress on these essential issues!



Our graduate student-run life science outreach blog shares a diverse array of stories about life science as well as engages in local outreach in Western Massachusetts. I am a co-founder, design committee member, and consistent writer/editor for the blog.


Once a month, we hold science cafes in the local community to bring together local researchers with non-scientists (and pizza!). This program has been run by Organismic and Evolutionary Biology graduate students since 2011.


I have been involved in a broad range of outreach events, from tabling at aquariums and fishing conventions for NOAA, to planning climate change-themed talks for a local Women's Group, to helping Girl Scouts complete animal habitat badges. 


For a copy of my resume, please use this PDF link.