Thursday, August 23, 2012

A New Blog for Fish Phylogenetics

I created this new blog to share thoughts on work from my research group on the phylogenetics and evolutionary biology of fishes. This will provide a forum to share insight about the studies that we publish, discuss important scientific aspects of fish diversity, reflect on my experiences teaching ichthyology (the study of fishes), and to comment and review contributions by other researchers.
This is a very exciting time for the phylogenetics of fishes, particularly Actinopterygii, or ray-finned fishes that comprise one half of all living vertebrate species. Unfortunately, the study of the phylogenetics of ray-finned fishes has lagged well behind that of other vertebrate lineages, such as birds, mammals, amphibians, snakes and lizards, and turtles. 

Much of what has constrained the development of ray-finned fish phylogenetics is been the reluctance of many ichthyologists to whole heartedly incorporate molecular data (e.g. DNA sequence data) in their efforts to infer phylogenetic relationships. The reasons for the reluctance to use molecular data are multifaceted and I will try to explore these topics in this blog.

Despite a negative attitude towards molecular data exhibited by some ichthyologists, new cutting-edge phylogenetic studies of fishes are being published at a pace in these earliest days of the 21st Century. This is an exciting time to be an ichthyologist as there are a large number of very important problems to address in the phylogenetics of fishes, just as new genomic tools are opening an endless array of strategies to attack these problems.


  1. Nice to see this new blog, Tom. I'm interested to read what you post!

  2. Thanks Brian, I will try to keep the posts coming along.