Organizers: Eric J. Hilton1, Zeehan Jaafar2, Hiroyuki Motomura3, Helen Larson4 & Nalani Schnell5

Affiliations: 1/ Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, USA; 2/ Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA; 3/ The Kagoshima University Museum, Kagoshima, Japan; 4/ Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia; 5/ Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France


Lead contact: Eric J. Hilton

Description: Systematic ichthyology integrates data across a suite of related fields, including comparative anatomy, taxonomy, systematics, phylogeny, and biogeography, to provide a basic framework for understanding the diversity and evolution of fishes. Anatomical characters remain the first step in diagnosing taxa, although advances in genetic methods for taxonomy (e.g., genetic barcoding) often reveal cryptic diversity. Morphology combines traditional approaches with cutting-edge technology, and remains a vibrant, cross-disciplinary field. Recent advances in imaging, data collection, and specimen preparation, aid in continued discovery of new taxa, and spark renewed interest in the reexamination of unresolved questions (e.g., homology). Similarly, advances in collection of genetic data (e.g., next generation sequencing) have revolutionized molecular systematics of fishes. New approaches, new taxa, and new data—from both morphological and molecular sources— applied to both new and old hypotheses deepen our collective knowledge of fishes. These data form the basis of phylogenetic hypotheses among and within major clades of fishes. Phylogenetic patterns in turn are the basis of evolutionary studies, and for understanding phenomena such as distributional patterns across time and space. The goal of this session is to explore the importance of an integrated approach towards the understanding of fish diversity in modern systematic ichthyology at all levels of phylogenetic organization. Presentations will include focused studies on individual groups of fishes to broad patterns of variation across fish diversity.

Expected Audience: The international composition of the organizing team for this session indicates the broad appeal of topics in systematics of fishes, and we expect to draw an audience from all attendees of the IPFC 10. In particular, we expect the audience to comprise anyone interested in the diversity of fishes and the evolution of their phenotypic variation, including their morphology, behavior, and their interactions with their environment. Other disciplines that will be interested in this session include paleontology, functional morphology and biomechanics, and molecular systematics.