Associate Curator (Ichthyology)
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1986 "Historical Biology of the Loricariid Catfishes: Phylogenetics and Functional Morphology"
Dr. Schaefer studies the systematics, biogeography, and evolutionary morphology of tropical freshwater fishes of Africa and South America, regions that contain the most diverse yet poorly known of the world's continental fish faunas. Exploration and discovery, the major priorities of ichthyology for more than 200 years, are now more urgent than ever because of the high rates of environmental degradation in the developing world. At present, there may be 10,000 species of fishes in South America alone, yet little more than half of that total has been studied to date. Dr. Schaefer's research seeks to resolve problems in taxonomy, classification, and evolution in those fish groups that dominate the ecology of riverine systems, such as catfishes and characoids. Much of this involves fieldwork and the search for undescribed fish diversity in poorly known regions, such as the Amazon and Orinoco River basins of South America.
Some of his projects try to reconstruct patterns of relationships among species and higher groups as part of broader efforts to interpret the distributions of fishes relative to what we know about major patterns of biotic and earth history. Other projects examine morphological structure, such as bones and muscles, and function, such as mechanics of feeding, in order to understanding the evolution of particular anatomical systems in the history of fish diversification.
Dr. Schaefer's current projects include taxonomic revision of the family Astroblepidae, a group of about 50 catfish species that live at high elevations in the Andes; review of the dwarf characids of the Lower Guinean Province of west-central Africa; and phylogenetic relationships among genera of African characoids based on morphological and molecular DNA sequence data. Recent fieldwork in Bolivia and Venezuela has resulted in the addition to the Museum of several new and important collections of fishes and has provided the raw materials for several ongoing and future research projects.
RECENT SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS
Schaefer, S. A., and U. Buitrago-Suarez. "Odontode Morphology and Skin Surface Features of Andean Astroblepid Catfishes (Siluriformes, Astroblepidae)." Journal of Morphology (in press).
Aquino, A. E., and S. A. Schaefer. "Structural Diversity of the Temporal Region of Catfishes: Convergence in Functional Integration of Sensory Systems." Zoologischer Anzeiger (in press).
Schaefer, S. A., "Family Astroblepidae." In Check List of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America (CLOFFSCA), S.O., ed. Kullander et al. Manila, Philippines: ICLARM, 2001.
Aquino, A. E., S. A. Schaefer, and A. M. Miquelarena. "A New Species of Hisonotus (Siluriformes, Loricariidae) of the Upper Río Uruguay Basin." American Museum Novitates 3333 (2001): 1-12.
Schaefer, S. A., and A. E. Aquino. "Postotic Laterosensory Canal and Pterotic Branch Homology in Catfishes." Journal of Morphology 246 (2000): 212-227.
Reis, R. E., and S. A. Schaefer. "New Cascudinhos from Southern Brazil: Systematics, Endemism, and Relationships (Siluriformes, Loricariidae, Hypoptopomatinae)." American Museum Novitates 3254 (1998): 1-25.
Schaefer, S. A. "Conflict and Resolution: Impact of New taxa on Phylogenetic Studies of the Neotropical Cascudinhos (Siluriformes: Loricariidae)." In Phylogeny and Classification of Neotropical Fishes, ed. L. R. Malabarba et al., 375-400. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Edipurcrs, 1998.
Schaefer, S. A. "The Neotropical Cascudinhos: Systematics and Biogeography of the Otocinclus Catfishes (Siluriformes: Loricariidae)." Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 148 (1997): 1-120.
EDITORIAL AND ADJUNCT APPOINTMENTS
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS AND SCIENTIFIC ASSISTANTS