fish

Research Our research is explicitly collections-based scientific research. This work in the field and from specimen-based observations motivates our research questions and provides the data we require to answer them.

KU ichthyologists have done near-shore and deep-sea collection on both sides of the Pacific and in the Western Indian Ocean in addition to freshwater fieldwork in Madagascar and the Midwest United States.

Ichthyologists at KU conduct molecular genetic studies in the Biodiversity Institute's Molecular Genetics Lab and comparative anatomical work in the Biodiversity Institute’s Morphology Lab. Both are recently renovated shared-use facilities.

Fish research

Research at a glance

  • KU ichthyologists conduct cutting-edge research on Recent and fossil freshwater and marine fishes, focusing on molecular and comparative anatomical studies.
  • Our growing research staff includes five or more scientists, including students, postdocs, research associates, and curators.
  • KU Ichthyology researchers are working on projects ranging from niche-modeling studies of cods to transcriptome-based studies of scorpionfishes to the development of the caudal-fin to higher-level studies of ray-finned fishes using fossil and extant species.
  • In 2013, KU Ichthyology published 17 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Our work is funded chiefly by competitive National Science Foundation research grants, the Biodiversity Institute, and the University of Kansas.
  • We host on-site specimen-based research by 5–10 visiting researchers per year with international visiting scholars hosted through KU’s International Programs Office.

Toadfish

The Genomics and Evolution of Venomous Fishes

Primary researcher: Leo Smith, Curator, Ichthyology

Venomous fishes pose a serious human threat with >50,000 reported envenomations per year. Prior to work from my lab, we knew little about the phylogenetic distribution of venomous fishes with most previous estimates identifying just 200 venomous fishes.
READ MORE

fish

Evolution of Deep-Sea Fishes

All animals that have evolved in the deep sea are under similar selective pressures as a result of the environmental extremes (e.g., little to no penetrable sunlight, high atmospheric pressure). This extreme habitat has led to massive convergence in animal morphology and behavior across deep-sea organisms.
READ MORE

Carp

Cypriniform Tree of Life

[NSF grant period 2004-2009]

Primary researcher: Gloria Arratia, Research Affiliate, Ichthyology

This large and collaborative research project resulted in the development of evolutionary hypotheses of relationships and taxonomic classifications for the fishes of the order Cypriniformes, the largest group of entirely freshwater fishes in the world with over 3,300 described species.
READ MORE

Euteleost Tree of Life

[NSF grant period 2007-2014]

Primary researcher: Ed Wiley, Curator Emeritus, Ichthyology

The euteleosts include some 346 families, 2,935 genera and over 17,400 species of fishes. Over two thirds of all fishes and nearly a third of all vertebrates are euteleosts, which include most of the economically important fishes such as salmons, basses, cods, and tunas.
READ MORE