124 Hodson Hall
1980 Folwell Avenue
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108 –6124
Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center
As a boy, Peter Sorensen watched commercial fishing boats unloading their catches and was captivated by the diversity of fishes. He was intrigued by the profound effects that chemicals such as odors and pollutants have on all aspects of aquatic life. Dr. Sorensen received a B.A. from Bates College and developed his love of research at the University of North Wales and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In 1984, he earned a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island for his discovery that compounds derived from stream microbes direct the migration of larval eels. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, he worked with Norm Stacey and identified some of the first sex pheromones (chemical signals that pass between members of the same species) in fish. These pheromones were hormonal derivatives; this discovery led Dr. Sorensen to study the relationship between hormones, olfaction, and behavior. This approach has since yielded evidence that most, if not all, fish employ ‘hormonal pheromones’.
Dr. Sorensen accepted a position at the University of Minnesota in 1988 to study fish behavior, olfaction, and physiology. His position is based in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; however, he has graduate appointments in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, Neuroscience, and Water Resources Science. Peter is enthusiastic to work with students on projects involving any topic that addresses fish behavior, physiology, and chemoreception. Basic and applied topics are of equal interest (see Research Page). His may be the only lab in the world with such a focus. Peter invites you to contact him if you share these interests.