John G. Lundberg, PhD

Emeritus Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science; Emeritus Curator, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

John Lundberg

Office: Ichthyology; diversity and evolution of fishes
Phone: 215.405.5069


  • BS, Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1964
  • PhD, Zoology, University of Michigan, 1970

Research Interests

Most of my research concerns the diversity and diversification of fishes. I seek to document and interpret the character (morphological and molecular) and taxonomic diversity of living and fossil fishes in the interrelated fields of systematics, faunistics and biogeography, and paleobiology. My work has a significant field component with exploration and collecting in poorly-known tropical freshwater habitats and regions.


John Lundberg is a systematist and ichthyologist with an active research program on tropical fish diversity and evolution. He received his PhD in 1970 at the University of Michigan, and has 41 years of postgraduate research, teaching and curatorial experience. He has published more than 90 papers in peer reviewed professional journals. He held tenured, full professorships at two Research-I universities - Duke (1970-1992) and the University of Arizona (1992-2000). He moved in early 2000 to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (ANSP) as Chaplin Chair and Curator of Ichthyology. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania (Biology) and a research associate appointment at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. John’s research includes living and fossil fishes. He has had NSF awards that supported exploration and documentation of the deep river channel biotas of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers, the evolutionary history of South American catfishes, and a 5-year global inventory of all species of catfishes. At Duke and Arizona he taught undergraduate and graduate courses comparative anatomy, ichthyology, systematic methods and evolutionary biology. He has been major advisor to 13 PhD students and five postdoctoral scientists. At Duke he served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biology and at Arizona he directed an NSF-funded graduate training program in biological diversification. He was President of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in 2009 and continues as a governor in that society. At the Academy he oversees, builds and promotes one of the world’s largest and most active research collections of fishes. John refers to the Academy’s Ichthyology Department as an “international crossroads for ichthyologists.”

Selected Publications

  • Lundberg, J. G., L. G. Marshall, J. Guerrero, B. Horton, M. C. Malabarba and F. Wesselingh. 1998. The Stage for Neotropical Fish Diversification: A History of Tropical South American Rivers. Chapter 1:13-48. In L.R. Malabarba, R.E.Reis, R.P.Vari, C.A.S.Lucena and Z.M.S.Lucena eds. Phylogeny and Classification of Neotropical Fishes. Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, PUCRS. Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  • Lundberg, J. G. 1998. The Temporal Context for Diversification of Neotropical Fishes. Chapter 2:49-68. In L.R. Malabarba, R.E.Reis, R.P.Vari, C.A.S.Lucena and Z.M.S.Lucena eds. Phylogeny and Classification of Neotropical Fishes. Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, PUCRS. Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  • Lundberg, J. G., M. Kottelat, G. R. Smith, M. Stiassny and T. Gill. 2000. So Many Fishes, So Little Time: An Overview of Recent Ichthyological Discoveries in Fresh Waters. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 87(1) 26-62.
  • Lundberg, J. G. (text) and R. Troll (art). 2001. Freshwater Riches of the Amazon. Natural History Magazine, American Museum of Natural History. September 2001.
  • Cox Fernandes, C., J. Podos, J. G. Lundberg. 2004. Tributaries Enhance the Diversity of Electric Fishes in Amazon River Channels. Science, 304: 1960-1962.
  • Rodiles-Hernández, R., D. A. Hendrickson, J. G. Lundberg & J. M. Humphries. 2005. Lacantunia enigmatica (Teleostei: Siluriformes) a new and phylogenetically puzzling freshwater fish from Mesoamerica. Zootaxa 1000: 1–24.

Courses Taught

  • Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates (Duke University)
  • Sytematic Biology (Duke University)
  • Evolutionary Mechanisms (Duke University)
  • Ichthyology (Duke University)
  • Vertebrate Diversity (University of Arizona)

Post Doctorate and Graduate Students

  • Katriina Ilves. 2009-Present. Chaplin Postdoctoral Fellow, Academy of Natural Sciences.