Our Staff

Leo Smith's picture
Associate Curator of Fishes
Year Started: 

I was an associate curator of Zoology at The Field Museum (2007-2013) and I taught at and had doctoral students through the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at The University of Chicago. My research focused on the evolutionary biology of fishes. In particular, I was interested in the large-scale phenomena that have shaped the history and diversification of fishes in both geographic space and geologic time. I used a combination of phylogenetic trees, detailed anatomical and genomic analyses, and comparative and diversification analyses to understand the evolution of fishes. I left The Field Museum in 2013 for the University of Kansas.

Representative Publications:
  • Near, T.J., Sandel, M., Kuhn, K.L., Unmack, P.J., Wainwright, P.C., and Smith, W.L. 2012. Nuclear gene-inferred phylogenies resolve the relationships of the enigmatic Pygmy Sunfishes, Elassoma (Teleostei: Percomorpha). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63:388-395. 
  • Chakrabarty, P., Davis, M.P., Smith, W.L., Baldwin, Z.H. and Sparks, J.S. 2011. Is sexual selection driving diversification of the bioluminescent ponyfishes (Teleostei: Leiognathidae)? Molecular Ecology 20:2818-2834. 
  • Smith, W.L. 2010. Promoting Resolution of the Percomorph Bush: A Reply to Mooi and Gill. Copeia 2010:520-524. 
  • Smith, W.L., Chakrabarty, P., and Sparks, J.S. 2008. Phylogeny, taxonomy, and evolution of Neotropical cichlids (Teleostei: Cichlidae: Cichlinae). Cladistics 24:625-641.
  • Smith, W.L. and Craig, M.T. 2007. Casting the percomorph net widely: The importance of broad taxonomic sampling in the search for the placement of serranid and percid fishes. Copeia 2007:35-55.
  • Wheeler, W.C., Aagesen, L., Arango, C.P., Faivovich, J., Grant, T., D’Haese, C., Janies, D., Smith, W.L., Varon, A., and Giribet, G. 2006. Dynamic Homology and Phylogenetic Systematics: A Unified Approach Using POY. American Museum of Natural History, New York. ISBN 0-913424-58.7.
  • Smith, W.L. and Wheeler, W.C. 2006. Venom evolution widespread in fishes: A road map for the bioprospecting of piscine venoms. Journal of Heredity 97:206-217.
  • Sparks, J.S. and Smith, W.L. 2005. Freshwater fishes, dispersal ability, and non-evidence: “Gondwana life rafts” to the rescue. Systematic Biology 54:158-165.
  • Sparks, J.S. and Smith, W.L. 2004. Phylogeny and biogeography of cichlid fishes (Teleostei: Perciformes: Cichlidae). Cladistics 20:501-517.
  • Smith, W.L. and Wheeler, W.C. 2004. Polyphyly of the mail-cheeked fishes (Teleostei: Scorpaeniformes): Evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32:627-646.