Organizers: Bettina Reichenbacher1, Lukas Rüber2 & Frank Pezold3

Affiliations: 1/ Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Germany; 2/ Department of Vertebrates, Natural History Museum, Bern, Switzerland; 3/ College of Science & Engineering, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX, USA

Email: b.reichenbacher@lrz.uni-muenchen.de; lukas.ruber@nmbe.ch; Frank.Pezold@tamucc.edu

Lead contact: Bettina Reichenbacher

Description: The Gobiiformes (as defined in the latest edition of “Fishes of the World”) or gobies constitute one of the largest orders of teleost fishes, with approximately 2,200 species and a worldwide distribution. Gobies are usually characterized by small body sizes and display an amazing range of morphological, ecological and physiological adaptations, making them a particularly attractive model for the study of patterns of diversification, phylogeny and biogeography. The Gobiidae is the most speciose group among gobies. It includes more marine species than any other fish family and accounts for a significant component of the benthic fish fauna of tropical reefs and shallow temperate-to-tropical seas. Recent advances in our understanding of their fossil record and phylogenetic history suggest that gobies may have originated in the Eocene (c. 55 m.y. ago) in the Indo-West-Pacific realm, and have undergone a striking level of species radiation and ecological diversification since the Early Miocene (23 m.y. ago). Among the factors that may have triggered and/or facilitated these processes are palaeogeographic reconfigurations resulting in vicariance and dispersal, the emergence of modern coral reef ecosystems and the development of complex ecological adaptations. The symposium will provide a platform for the presentation of multiple aspects of goby diversification and evolution, including recent advances in understanding goby phylogeny, historical biogeography, ecology, physiology and fossils. The intention is to bring together goby researchers from all over the world to promote a synoptic view of goby biology and evolution, and also to stimulate the formation of a worldwide ‘goby network’.

Expected Audience: The symposium should appeal to all goby researchers, to ichthyologists with a focus on Indo-Pacific marine and island freshwater diversity, and to scientists with a specialist interest in reef ecology.