Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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D. Ross Robertson

Ross Robertson was born in 1946, in Sydney Australia. Very shortly thereafter his family moved to Madang, on the northeast coast of what is now Papua and New Guinea. Living in a house on the waterfront of a beautiful harbor with an abundance of reefs naturally stimulated an early interest in reef fishes. That interest persisted through to form the basis of his doctoral dissertation work on the evolution of a sex-changing wrasse on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. After receiving his PhD in 1974 a postdoctoral fellowship from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization allowed him to work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. In 1975 he joined STRI’s scientific staff, and since then has worked on various aspects of the ecology, reproductive and population biology, demography, evolution, biogeography and taxonomy of tropical reef fishes at sites scattered throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. He is the coauthor (with Jerry Allen) of two editions of Fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific, the 1994 english edition and the 1998 spanish edition (Peces del Pacifico Oriental Tropical ). Since he and Jerry Allen began fieldwork for that book in 1990 he has traveled extensively throughout the eastern Pacific documenting its fishes. Beside that book he has published over 90 scientific papers. His other pursuits include an appreciation of remote tropical islands, an undiminished enjoyment of diving and the employment of underwater photography for scientific use, collecting palms, swimming and biking. He lives in Panama sans family.

Gerald R. Allen

Born in 1942, Dr. Allen, spent his youth in California, where he gained a lasting appreciation of natural history. He obtained his doctorate in marine zoology from the University of Hawaii in 1971. He has traveled extensively throughout the tropics, having logged more than 5000 hours of SCUBA diving. Dr. Allen was the C urator of Ichthyology at the Western Australian Museum between 1974 and 1998. He now works for Conservation International as Science Team Leader for rapid biological assessment surveys, a job that is mainly concerned with saving coral reefs in Southeast Asia. He is regarded as an international expert on the classification of tropical reef fishes. Special interests include the taxonomy of marine damselfishes (Pomacentridae) and cardinal fishes (Apogonidae), as well as the freshwater fishes of New Guinea and Australia. He has authored more than 350 scientific articles and 30 books. Dr. Allen is also an avid underwater photographer and took many of the photos that appear in this CD. His hobbies include cycling and alpine mountaineering. He resides in Perth, Australia with wife Connie. They have two sons, Tony and Mark.

Ernesto A. Peña E.

Ernesto A. Peña Escobar was born in 1964, at San Salvador, El Salvador. His father stimulated an early interest in the sea and sealife. He moved to Panama in 1983, were he took a BSC in Biology, graduating in 1990. Between 1992-93 he participate in a University of Panama project : A biological inventory of the Panama Canal. He has worked at STRI since 1993. He lives in Panama and enjoys fishing and camping.

James L. Van Tassell

James L. Van Tassell was born in 1945 in New York. He received his doctorate in systematics and evolutionary biology from the City University of New York’s program at the American Museum of Natural History in 1998. During his tenure as a high school teacher; at H. F. Carey High School in Franklin Square, NY; he developed courses in Ecology, Marine biology, a science research program for gifted students, and an Ecology Club which was recognized by the United Nations as one of the top ten youth organizations in the world. Evenings and vacation periods were occupied by his research on the fishes of the Canary Islands. His studies of the shore fish populations and the effect of tourism on the marine environment lead to the establishment of the first underwater preserve in Spain. Since 1984 he has focused his attention on the systematics of gobiid fishes in the Americas and eastern Atlantic; developed a web site on the systematics, biogeography, and breeding of gobiid fishes; and published over 20 scientific papers. He has worked in the Canary Islands for the past 26 years and traveled extensively to other areas in the east Pacific, Central America, Caribbean, and coastal zones in the US. His other pursuits include SCUBA diving and photography for scientific purposes, hiking, canoeing, and camping.

Philip A. Hastings

Phil Hastings was born in 1951 in Pensacola, Florida where he grew up exploring its surrounding marine and aquatic habitats. He attended the University of South Florida (BA) and the University of West Florida (MS), and in the late 1970s, worked on the ecology of Florida fishes at Harbor Branch Foundation. He then moved west to attend the University of Arizona (PhD) where he began his studies on fishes of the Gulf of California. An earlier discovery of a new species tube blenny from the Gulf of Mexico was followed by his dissertation research on the behavioral ecology of the abundant and conspicuous chaenopsids in the Gulf of California. His research on tube blennies continues and includes several aspects of their evolution, behavior and ecology. After receiving his PhD, he became Research Scientist and later Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the University of Arizona. He accepted his current position of Curator of Marine Vertebrates and Associate Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego in 1999. He lives in San Diego, California where he, his wife Marty, and sons Sam and Paul enjoy hiking, swimming, and camping.

Richard Cooke

Richard Cooke was born in Guildford, Surrey, England, in 1946. After studying modern languages and archaeology at the University of Bristol, he obtained his PhD at the London Institute of Archaeology where he graduated in 1972 with a thesis on the archaeology of Coclé province, Panama. Cooke returned to Panama in 1973 and has been a resident of this country ever since. Until 1983, when he joined the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), he worked as field assistant to archaeologist Junius Bird (American Museum of Natural History), as archaeologist on various Panamanian government projects and as archaeology professor at the National and Catholic universities. In 1974 he was awarded a STRI post-doctoral fellowship under Olga Linares. During the last ten years he directed excavations at a large pre-Columbian settlement on the central Pacific coast of Panama (Cerro Juan Díaz) in conjunction with Panama’s Institute of Culture. In 2002 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for analyzing the cultural and biological materials obtained on this project. Cooke’s major research interests are: the history of fishing in tropical waters; the archaeology and palaeoecology of the Central American land bridge; and archaeozoology. He is married to Ilicena Tapia R. and has three children.

John McCosker

John E. McCosker is a Senior Scientist and the Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences. Prior to that, he was Director of the Steinhart Aquarium, a division of the Academy, for 22 years. Born in Los Angeles in 1945, he received his PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1973 based on the evolution of tropical eels. His research activities have included such diverse topics as the fishes of the Galapagos Islands, the classification and relationships of the eel families Ophichthidae and Muraenidae, the symbiotic behavior of bioluminescent fishes, the behavior of sea snakes, the biology of the coelacanth, the behavior of white sharks, and the conservation of salmonid fishes. He is the author of more than 200 popular and scientific articles and books, and has made scuba and submersible dives throughout most of the tropics

Bill Bussing

Bill Bussing was born in 1933 and raised in Los Angeles where early-on he became an avid aquarist. His university education was interrupted by military service in Korea, travel in Mexico and work at a variety of non-science jobs. After attending courses at the University of Miami and Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico), assisting research on fish grazing at Eniwetok Atoll, he received an Inter-American Cultural Convention Scholarship (1962-63) to study the ecology of the fishes of Rio Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. He obtained his Master’s degree from the University of Southern California in 1965, with a thesis on the bathypelagic fishes in the eastern Pacific. He taught the first ichthyology course at the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1962 and was hired in 1966 to continue the ichthyology course and to develop a program in marine biology. His research at first centered on freshwater fishes in Costa Rica and other Central American countries, and started the large fish collection now in the Museo de Zoología (UCR). This culminated in a reference book (Premio Nacional "Aquileo J. Echeverría" 1987). He has made extensive collections of marine fishes from both coasts of Costa Rica and Isla del Coco, to establish complete inventories of both coastal ichthyofaunas as well as river fishes. Bill Bussing has described more than 50 species of fishes from Costa Rica, which has at least 1,300 species. A professor emeritus since 1991, Bussing continues as Curator of Fishes. His wife, Myrna López, studies ichthyoplankton from the Costa Rican Pacific coast.

Philippe Béarez

Philippe Béarez was born in Foix, French Pyrenees, in 1958. After receiving a Master of Hydrobiology from the university of Toulouse, he began working on fish population dynamics, small scale fisheries and the aquaculture of continental fresh and brackish waters, in France and in Africa (Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Madagascar). From 1992 he worked in South America, mainly Ecuador and Peru, where he spent 5 years studying the marine ichthyofauna and coastal archaeo-ichthyology. In 1996 he graduated as Doctor of the National Museum of Natural History of Paris, where, since then, he has continued his research as an investigator for the National Science Research Council (CNRS). Dr Béarez publishes on three main subjects: the taxonomy and biogeography of tropical eastern Pacific fishes, fish skeletal anatomy, and pre-Hispanic environments and fishing strategies.