Staff Profiles

John S. Sparks

Curator-in-Charge, Department of Ichthyology, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Principal Investigator, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

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  • Education

      • University of Michigan, Ph.D., 2001
      • University of Michigan, M.Sc., 1997
      • University of Michigan, B.A., 1987
  • Research Interests

    Research Interests

      Dr. Sparks’s researchfocuses on the systematics, evolution, and biogeography of freshwater and both nearshore and deep-sea marine fishes. Current projects include the evolution and function of sexually-dimorphic bioluminescent signaling systems in ponyfishes (Leiognathidae) and other bioluminescent marine fish clades, the origin(s) and biogeography of Madagascar’s freshwater and nearshore marine fishes, and synthetic studies investigating the evolution of biofluorescence and biogeographic history of the Western Indian Ocean. Dr. Sparks is also conducting phylogenetic studies, combining both morphological and molecular evidence, of cichlids, atheriniforms (silversides), and cave gobies. He is collaborating with microbiologists to investigate host-symbiont coevolution in ponyfishes in which light is produced by symbiotic luminescent bacteria housed in a complex circumesophageal light organ. Recent fieldwork includes biotic surveys and inventories of both freshwater and marine fishes in Madagascar, the Indo-Pacific region, South America, and the Caribbean.  

      Sparks Website

  • Teaching Experience

    Teaching Experience