Thomas K. DiBenedetto

Tom DiBenedetto

Fish Division, Museum of Zoology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079
Voice: 734-647-2192
Fax: 734-763-4080

Research Interests

I am an historical biologist engaged in writing the natural history of fishes in the Neotropical and African Order Characiformes (Teleostei, Ostariophysi), with special attention to the Serrasalmidae (pacus and piranhas). The central organizing context of this history is the phylogenetic relationships of the taxa. My PhD dissertation work, under the supervision of my advisor, Bill Fink, is centered on reconstructing these relationships using evidence drawn from anatomical characters, genetic sequences and variation in the ontogeny of body form. From the context defined by the phylogenetic classification, I analyze not only the evolution of the intrinsic characters of the organisms themselves, but also their ecological and biogeographical conditions. The goal is to understand the historical generality of all of the traits and conditions of the organisms so that our understandings of the processes involved can be structured accordingly. One perspective from which this subject will be addressed is a comparison between the radiations of various characiform groups in South America and in Africa.

I am also intrigued by the epistemic questions relating to how scientists can learn about and present accounts of the history of lineages, and the general effects that such a perspective entails for our understanding of natural processes, and of our own place in the world.

As the Project Manager for NEODAT II , I am involved in the effort to gather together museum records for Neotropical fishes, and to disseminate this information to the Web. If you wish any information relating to this project, please email me.

Ichthyological Links

Systematics Links

Colleagues and Friends

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