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 and genomic, 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 Fish Collection within the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC. I teach undergraduate courses in Honour's Research (Biology 447) and Diversity and Evolution of Fishes (Biology 465).

Address (EBT): Office/Lab: Room 310/4247, Beaty Biodiversity Centre/Biosciences 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


Pacific salmon and steelhead trout watch: Updated Nov 20, 2023

People often ask me, "How are the salmon doing this year?" That is a great question that is surprisingly difficult to find an accessible answer to. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans' (the agency with the legislated mandate to manage our salmon resources) website is quite obscure in terms of overall status of key salmon populations in BC. The provincial government's official environmental websites are even less informative (neither "fish" or "fisheries" are even mentioned on the home pages of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy or the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development). Better are agencies such as the Pacific Salmon Commission (which posts weekly summaries during test fishing season), the Pacific Salmon Foundation's "Salmon Explorer", and weekly email updates from local BC Government fisheries groups.

Here, I provide links and key summaries from this information. Salmon (BC's provincial fishes) and steelhead trout constitute much of what is the soul of BC. We need timely and accessible information on the status of these species to make informed queries to our public officials charged with their conservation and to be able to assess the actions, or lack of action, they are taking to conserve these fishes. Please spread the word.

Guide to Freshwater Fishes of BC

We have produced a foldable, laminated guide to the freshwater fishes of BC. Fully water and tear-proof, 11 x 23 cm, all 90 species found in fresh water. Facts about biology, distribution, great pics, and identification tips. Cost $11 which includes postage. To order one and support conservation of BC biodiversity (all proceeds go to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum), click HERE

A pdf of the guide can be downloaded HERE

FishSorter iPhone/Android phone app NOW available in the App store and Google Play

Fishes in the News

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

Fish-shaped nanorobotics developed to help deliver medicine in vivo (news.cn, October 19, 2021).

The beauty of fish scales. (US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oct 2019).

Scientists save bear with fish skin - and stumbled on a game-changing idea (The New Republic, Jan. 2018)

Houston man catches fish in flooded home. (973TheDawg, Sept. 2017).

Implications of Brexit vote on UK Fishing Industry. (The Telegraph, October 2016).

Guinness to eliminate fish bladder as clarifying agent for its famous beer. (Quartz, November 2015).

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).

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

Big Fish: Tuna sells for record $1.8 million at Tokyo auction. No wonder agreeing on conservation-based bluefin tuna quotas is so difficult!

Prize money of $1 million dollars at risk for lack of $15 fishing licence after a Hemmingwayesq-sized blue marlin caught



© E.B.T. 2020
© photo of bull trout: E.R. Keeley, Idaho State Univ.

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