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James Albert

1987 B.S. (Zoology) University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

1990 M.S. (Zoology) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

1995 Ph.D. (Zoology) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


My research is devoted to the diversity, systematics, and evolution of tropical fishes. I am interested in all aspects of tropical fish biology, including molecular, physiological, morphological, and behavioral characters, as well as the ecological and geographical circumstances under which these characters evolved. Projects in my lab include descriptive, experimental, and analytical studies of genetic and phenotypic data. These studies are used in part to document the total numbers species in ecologically defined regions, as well as the number of species endemic to these regions. A main objective is to investigate evolutionary questions at cellular, morphological and organismal levels. Further work focuses on testing hypotheses on the origin and maintenance of fish diversity in the tropics, using results from both field and laboratory studies.
Many results are published in the form of species descriptions and phylogenetic analyses. These results have important implications for conservation by providing primary data on the distribution and abundance species in poorly known environments and by documenting new areas of species richness. Species richnessis the baseline data used in most biodiversity assays and is important for habitat preservation.

The central theme of these projects is the spectacular diversification of teleost fishes. Teleosts constitute the majority of vertebrate species and occupy most of the aquatic habitats on earth. Through a combination of morphological and phylogenetic approaches we identify homologous structures, generate databases of morphological diversity and trace the history of character evolution. A more theoretical interest is in developing methods to generate and test alternative hypotheses of evolution. The idea is to use the myriad details of morphology and behavior as a basis to understand conditions of evolution.

!! Graduate Student Positions in Systematics and Evolution !!

I have openings for a Ph.D and MSc. students in my laboratory. Student research will focus on systematics, evolution and biogeography of freshwater fishes. Thesis projects will include a combination of field-based and laboratory studies using DNA sequencing and morphological approaches. Students will have opportunities to develop independent research projects in Latin America. Projects developed for North American freshwater and marine fishes are also encouraged. The UL Lafayette Department of Biology has a strong tradition of teaching and research in sub-tropical and tropical zoology. Course work would center on the areas of the students interests in evolutionary or ecological theory. Deadlines for application are Sept. 15/Jan. 15th. Please contact me directly via email if you are interested in pursuing graduate research in my laboratory and/or have any questions.


Feel free to contact me at this address:

James Albert, Department of Biology, PO Box 42451, Lafayette, LA 70504 or, Telephone: (337) 482-6627