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Zoology, Division of Fishes

Established in 1894, The Field Museum's Division of Fishes now contains more than 1,750,000 specimens, 130,000 lots, 10,000 species, 4,500 tissue samples, 3,500 skeletons, 1,400 nominal types (6,550 specimens), and 450 families. Our collections have grown out of the cumulative effort of 12 past and current curators and countless professional staff, students, and associates. This emphasis on the collection and research of freshwater and marine fishes has made The Field Museum a leader in the evolutionary biology of fishes.

Seth E. Meek (1897-1914) pioneered the study of Neotropical freshwater fishes. Loren P. Woods (1941-1978) amassed large and important collections of freshwater fishes from North America and marine fishes from the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Robert K. Johnson (1972-1986) obtained significant collections of mesopelagic fishes and shorefishes from Belize and Honduras amounting to more than 100,000 specimens. Donald J. Stewart (1978-1985), Barry Chernoff (1987-2002), and later Assistant Collection Manager Phil Willink (2002-2010) rejuvenated our early Neotropical freshwater research and collection emphasis by conducting numerous expeditions to Ecuador, Peru, Surinam, and Venezuela. Since his arrival, Mark Westneat (1991-2013) expanded our marine collections, focusing on Indo-Pacific coral reef fishes. Leo Smith (2007-2013) strengthened our midwater and deep-sea collections from both sides of the north Pacific Ocean.