The Andes Mountains

The Andes Mountains formed along the western margin of South America as a result of tectonic collision and subduction of the Nazca Plate, the floor of the eastern Pacific Ocean, underneath the western South American Plate. Beginning in the Late Miocene, this collision instigated transcontinental changes in topography and hydrology that continue to this day. It also created a vast expanse of tropical high-elevation, fast-water habitat in Andean watersheds from Panama to Bolivia. The biogeographical dispersal, speciation and evolutionary specialization of fishes across these habitats remain poorly understood influences on the diversification of Neotropical organisms. Unfortunately, the great hydroelectric potential of these rivers is now being aggressively exploited with little thought given to the natural ecological function of these rivers or the endemic biodiversity they contain. I have conducted aquatic biodiversity surveys and taxonomic, evolutionary and ecological research in Andean rivers throughout Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. I am now expanding this research northward into Colombia.

Bolivia

 

I led one expedition to the relatively low diversity peidmont streams of the Bolivian Andes in 2011. This fieldwork produced over 90 tissues for genetic analysis and over 90 lots of whole fish voucher specimens at North American museums (all at the ROM). For more information on the products, sponsors and participants of this expedition, click here:

 

Colombia

 

I have led two expeditions to sample rivers draining the Colombian Andes in 2017 and 2019. This fieldwork generated...under construction:

Ecuador

 

I have led two expeditions to sample rivers draining the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. These expeditions have produced over 960 tissues for genetic analysis and over 700 lots of whole fish voucher specimens at North American museums (all at the ROM). It also yielded type material for three new species descriptions that I have authored and fresh topotype material for six previously described species, five of which I have redescribed. For more information on the products, sponsors and participants of these expeditions, click on the following:

 

Peru

 

I have led two expeditions to survey rivers draining the Andes Mountains of Peru. This fieldwork has produced over 670 tissues for genetic analysis and over 1,100 lots of whole fish voucher specimens at North American museums (at AUM and CU). It has also yielded type material for five new species descriptions that I have authored and fresh material for two previously described species that I have redescribed. For more information on the products, sponsors and participants of each expedition, click on the following: