Moorea Biocode Project
Ph.D. Zoology, 1986, University of Florida
M.S. Biology, 1979, University of South Alabama
B.S. Biology, 1975, Florida State University
My research over the past 30 years has primarily focused on the systematics, taxonomy and zoogeography of marine fishes. The excitement of being a scientist in a field of science where new discoveries are common occurrences makes my work truly enjoyable. As Collections Manager in the Division of Fishes at the National Museum of Natural History, my work often involves traveling to remote parts of the world to collect fish specimens for the national collections using SCUBA, submersible and other fishing methods. The fish collected on these expeditions help to document and add to our knowledge of marine fish biodiversity in the world's seas. I have collected fish from the Gulf of Mexico, western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Islands, Ryukyu Islands, Philippine Islands, Seychelles, Fiji Islands, Tonga Islands, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, Australia, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. Each expedition has yielded discoveries of new species that had never been seen before. Most of my work has been in remote parts of the world, often involving days of travel simply to reach these areas. The primitive conditions in these remote areas make the work difficult, but the rewards are the many scientific discoveries that result. I often discover beautifully colored fish species that have never been seen before. Many of my published scientific articles are descriptions of new species I collected and photographed, along with keys to aid the identification of the cryptic shorefishes of the world.
Most of my International expeditions are biodiversity surveys jointly developed with environmental or fisheries departments in each host country. Each survey provides the host country with a baseline species inventory of the fishes in their waters, which they may then use to manage their resources. Many of the fish species collected during these biodiversity surveys are cryptic (hidden) fishes that are rarely or never seen by divers or fishermen, yet the cryptic species are a major component of the food web that supports the commercially valuable fishes.
There remain many areas around the world from which we have only a meager knowledge of the fish fauna. I hope to continue to collect in these remote places and preserve fish specimens that will be available for scientific study, not only today, but for hundreds of years into the future.
Williams, Jeffrey T., Delrieu-Trottin, Erwan and Planes, Serge 2012
. A new species of Indo-Pacific fish, Canthigaster criobe, with comments on other Canthigaster (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) at the Gambier Archipelago
, 3523: 80-88.
Williams, Jeffrey T. 2012
. Photography changes our knowledge of new species. In: Heiferman, Marvin, Photography Changes Everything.
New York: Aperture Foundation and Smithsonian Institution, pp.102-104.
Hubert, Nicolas, Meyer, Christopher P., Bruggemann, Henrich J., Guérin, Fabien, Komeno, Roberto J. L., Espiau, Benoit, Causse, Romain, Williams, Jeffrey T. and Planes, Serge 2012
. Cryptic Diversity in Indo-Pacific Coral-Reef Fishes Revealed by DNA-Barcoding Provides New Support to the Centre-of-Overlap Hypothesis
. PLoS ONE
, 7(3): 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028987