While Maria Abate is new to the Simmons Biology department, she is already well acquainted with the neighborhood - she has been working as a professor and a researcher in the Boston area for over 10 years. In class she emphasizes the intricate connection between people and the process of evolution by using "real life" scenarios. For example, students have prepared summaries of research findings as if they were writing for the Boston Globe; designed computer graphics to conceptualize themes they're studying; or hotly debated the ethics of medical research in her classes. Her undergraduate work in Zoology brought her face-to-snout with monkeys, black bears, and raptors (the birds, not the scary guys from Jurassic Park), but once she read about sex-changing fish, she could not resist becoming a marine biologist. Her passion for fish research recently led her to host the Ecological and Evolutionary Ethology of Fishes (EEEF) international conference in Boston and guest edit a special issue of Current Zoology dedicated to its proceedings. Her research focuses on how fish adapt to environmental stressors including predators, competitors and growth factors. How fish smell their way out of trouble is one of her research areas that provides undergraduates with intensive research opportunities.