Ichthyology Staff & Affiliates
John G. Lundberg
Emeritus Curator of Ichthyology
John's research focuses on fish diversity of South America. His taxonomic specialties are catfishes and electric fishes. He is a Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF funded All Catfsih Species Inventory. With previous funding from the National Science Foundation he has conducted ichthyological expeditions to explore the deep river channels of the Amazon River in Brazil and the Orinoco River in Venezuela. He also investigates fossil fishes from South America that show that many living groups of fishes are much older than once thought, that many fishes were more widespread in the past than today, and that local extinction has been a major factor in the modernization of the South American aquatic biota.
Mark Henry Sabaj Pérez
Interim Curator of Ichthyology
Mark has primary responsibility for the care and maintenance of our extensive collections. He also is involved in a taxonomic revision of the neotropical catfish family Doradidae (thorny catfishes) with descriptions of several new species, modern and fossil. Mark has field and collecting experience throughout the United States and in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Thailand, Venezuela, and the Peruvian Amazon.
Kyle R. Luckenbill
Kyle's first experiences at the museum came through the Academy's REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, during the summer of 2002 in the Botany Department where he did some work with the collection as well as digital imaging and illustration. Kyle is currently assisting John Lundberg, through a NSF grant, in his research involving the discovery and description of the world's catfish species. His duties include digital imaging of preserved specimens and skeletal material, X-raying specimens, clearing and staining specimens, preparing skeletons, and preparing figures for publication. He is also working with Mark Sabaj, assisting with care and maintenance of the fish collection. Kyle's other interests include teaching, through the Scout Badge program here at the Academy, and working as a freelance scientific illustrator. He has done work for the Paleontology Dept. at the American Museum of Natural History, and is currently working with Academy Paleontologist Ted Daeschler, providing illustrations for his publications.
Wasila Dahdul's research centers on the evolutionary history of pacus and piranhas, a lineage of characiform fishes from South American freshwaters. Her work integrates molecular and morphological evidence to infer relationships in the group, and examines their fossil record to understand the temporal context of their evolution. She has collecting experience in Venezuela and Brazil.
Graduate Student in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
The University of Florida
215-405-5069 (leave message) or 508 540-7576 (Massachusetts)
Loren's research examines '50 year' changes in Bahamian reef fish communities by repeating collections made by Dr. James Böhlke and Mr. Charles Chaplin during the 1950s and 1960s for their book Fishes of the Bahamas and Adjacent Tropical Waters. In recent years corals reefs in many areas have declined and certain species, such as elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, once abundant, are now rare. Widespread overfishing of larger, economically valuable species such as the Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, causes unknown changes to reef fish community structure. Nutrient runoff or other pollution sources, coastal dredging and modification or other environmental changes may affect reef fish communities by directly affecting health, habitat quality or reproductive success or indirectly affecting reef fish nursery areas or food supplies. Gordon Chaplin, who was present on many of the original surveys (son of Charles), is working closely with Loren to conduct these collections. Collections comprise mostly small reef associated fishes with little commercial value, many of which are infrequently or rarely observed. We also are conducting visual surveys of fish, corals and other habitat characteristics in the area of our collections in order to describe the habitats where each species typically occurs and to evaluate the relative differences between rotenone collections and more traditional visual fish.
John Sullivan is a postdoc working with John Lundberg on the interrelationships and evolution of the major groups of catfishes for the All Catfish Species Inventory project. Working in the Academy Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution, Sullivan is assembling a large dataset of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences in order to infer the evolutionary history of this widespread and diverse group of fishes. Previously, he has worked on electric fishes of South America and Africa.