We study the evolution of fishes with an emphasis on taxonomy (describing new species), phylogenetics (how are the species related), and how their morphology interacts with their ecology. Our lab has served as leaders in two of the largest fish taxonomy projects, the All Catfish and All Cypriniformes Species Inventories. This research has brought us to nearly every continent and to some of the most remote places on the planet. We primarily study freshwater fishes, but students have completed projects on marine fishes as well.
As part of our fieldwork, we collect fishes, whole specimens and tissues. Most of those specimens are placed in the Auburn University Museum Fish Collection located in the Biodiversity Learning Center. The collection now contains over 65,000 jars of fishes and over 700,000 specimens. These specimens are studied here and sent on loan to researchers around the world.