Evolution and conservation of fishes

Freshwater fishes represent a spectacular adaptive radiation; about 40% of all fishes (which constitute more than 50% of all vertebrates) are found in freshwater habitats which comprise only 0.8% of the Earth's surface area! My research focuses on understanding patterns of genetic variation within and between natural populations of fishes, the processes that promote and organize such variation, and their relevance to the origins and conservation of biodiversity. In particular, I am interested in population structure and the historical and contemporary processes that influence population structure, speciation and hybridization (both ecological and genetic mechanisms of divergence and persistance in the face of gene flow), and the implications of these processes to biodiversity conservation. We develop and apply techniques in molecular biology to address questions in the evolution and ecology of natural populations. Molecular genetic (utilizing mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA markers, mtDNA and intron sequencing and RFLP analyses), morphological, and ecological, studies are conducted in the general fields of population genetics, molecular ecology and systematics, and conservation genetics and biodiversity. I am also the Director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (BBM), the curator of the Fish Collection at the BBM and a member of Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC. I also teach undergraduate courses in Honour's Research (Biology 447) and Diversity and Evolution of Fishes (Biology 465). Please note that I will be on sabbatical in 2014-2015 and these courses will be taught by other faculty.

Download the UBC Fish Collection Fact Sheet HERE.

Fish Identification Course: May, 2014. Download Information Sheet HERE.

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum: A celebration of life's diversity (Video by Derek Tan)

Changes to Canada's Federal Fisheries Act

If you are interested in my ideas about why changes to the Fisheries Act are not good for Canada's freshwater biodiversity, click HERE

Address (EBT): Office/Lab: Room 310/270, Beaty Biodiversity Bldg, 2212 Main Mall, UBC Mailing address: Dept. of Zoology, UBC 6270 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC, CANADA, V6T 1Z4

Contact EBT: etaylor@zoology.ubc.ca


Graduate position openings

I currently have some openings for graduate student positions

1. Physiological constraints to hybridization in trout (Autumn 2015). This would be an MSc or PhD position investigating the role of physiological performance in westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and their hybrids in influencing spatial variation in hybridization. The project would involve both field and laboratory studies of metabolic physiology with potential to explore the genomic architecture of such variation and with implications for recovery planning.

Fishes in the News (FINs)

An occasional miscellany of fishes and their interactions with humans through the ages as reflected in media reports.

Most recent (July, 2014):Manitoba Lake to have first certified sustainable freshwater fishery in North America. (The Toronto Star, July, 2014)

Big court victory for tiny fish in the Bay Area (Reuters.com, March 2014).

Multiple dams on the lower Mekong River threaten the world's largest inland fishery (Yale environment 360, Feb. 2014)

US EPA report points out threats of Pebble Mine development to world's biggest salmon fishery. (Alaska Dispatch, Jan. 2014)

Vlad the Piscator! Vladimir Putin, camouflage gear and all, (with buddy Medvedev in tow) catches big pike on fishing trip, then shows what a compassionate guy he is by kissing it! (BigLeadSports.com, July 2013).

Farmed fish overtakes lifestock in terms of annual tonnage produced (Malaya Business Insight, June 2013).

Ten "craziest" fishes and where to see them (USA Today, June 2013).

Japanese fish find their way to US coast in tsunami debris (The Washington Post, April 2013).

Pacific salmon named BC "provincial fish(es)". A noble choice. Let's hope it does some good!


Whether we live by the seaside, or by the lakes and rivers, or by the prairie, it concerns us to attend to the nature of fishes, since they are not phenomena confined to certain localities, but forms and phases of the life in nature universally dispersed.

(H.D. Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849)

© E.B.T.
© photo of bull trout: E.R. Keeley, Idaho State Univ.

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