Curator of Fishes, Ted Pietsch, has authored a new book titledTropical Fishes of the East Indies, which has been described in the March 2010 issue of Vanity Fair as "Essential Reading: Theodore W. Pietsch hooks a beauty," a stunning achievement in zoological illustration.
Book description from Amazon.com: One of the earliest depictions of marine zoology comes from Samuel Fallours, who in the 1690s was in the service of the Dutch East India Company. On the island of Ambon, one of the Moluccas, he made drawings of fishes and other marine organisms of the tropical Pacific Ocean and brought them back to Holland in 1712. His drawings belong to a number of sets of similar drawings, depicting hundreds of animals, mostly fishes, but also crustaceans, insects, a dugong, and even a mermaid. Some of these became the basis for 18th-century publications, among them Louis Renard's Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes (1719) and François Valentijn's "Verhandeling der Ongemeene Visschen van Amboina," a chapter in his Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien (1724-1726). These beautiful, elaborately detailed and brilliantly colored drawings provide an extraordinary description of the marine fish fauna of the East Indies that can still be interpreted in light of present-day scientific knowledge. From an artistic and historical viewpoint, these drawings are among the finest natural history illustrations ever made.
Burke doctoral candidate, Chris Kenaley, working with Curator of Fishes, Ted Pietsch, has just been awarded funding from theEncyclopedia of Life (EOL) to catalog the diversity of fishes in the world's largest and least studied biome, the deep sea. Over the course of a week-long meeting at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, in May of this year, Chris will lead an international team of scientists in the compilation of a list of all oceanic fish species living below 200 meters. No such inventory presently exists. Chris and the participants believe that the effort will help resolve several important, unresolved questions, including, how many times fishes have invaded the deep sea.
In addition to workshop funding, Chris has also been awarded an EOL Rubenstein Fellowship. As a Rubenstein Fellow, Chris will participate as a contributor in a world-wide effort to create a web page for each species of organism on Earth. Chris will focus on the teleost order Stomiiformes (lightfishes and dragonfishes) and the lophiiform suborder Ceratioidei (deep-sea anglerfishes), the two most diverse groups of fishes in the deep sea.
EOL is an initiative intended to document all of the 1.8 million living species known to science. EOL expects that page assembly for all species will be completed within the next ten years. The project is backed by a $50 million funding commitment, led by the The MacArthur Foundation and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.