This video is the first of a new series of behind-the-scenes looks at the collections at the American Museum of Natural History. In this video, Melanie Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Department of Ichthyology, takes us through the Museum's vast collection of fishes.
The Department of Ichthyology, one of the four departments within the Museum's Division of Vertebrate Zoology, houses a collection that comprises more than 2 million specimens from around the world, with a special focus on African, Australian, Central American, Chinese, and Malagasy fresh water fishes as well as Bahamian and Gulf of Mexican shore fishes. The department's three curators, as well as postdoctoral fellows, students and staff, regularly conduct fieldwork to add to these collections.
Stiassny has carried out studies throughout the world's tropical waters to research the evolution, behavior, and conservation of fishes and has played an active role in raising public awareness of the biodiversity and conservation crisis. Her current projects include an exploration, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, of the freshwater fishes and mussels of the Congo.