Mulitgene Phylogeny of Syngnathiform Fishes
Syngnathidae is a unique and poorly understood fish family that is exploited and occurs in the marine habitats most threatened by human population growth. Syngnthids exhibit cryptic body morphology. This has left scientists uncertain of their taxonomy and systematics, the most basic building blocks of biological knowledge.
We are creating a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for this important and diverse group of fishes in order to resolve taxonomy, as well as to reveal branch lengths and branching patterns of syngnathid evolution. DNA sequences from representative species of the 54 genera recognized will be deposited with Genbank, the Fish Barcode of Life project,
and with Seahorse Sleuth. Collaborating institutions include the University of Papau New Guinea, McGill University, and the South Australian Museum.
This information will aid in the documentation and conservation of these beautiful fishes by creating a reliable molecular character for identification, and a road map for understanding the evolution of the many unusual and interesting life strategies and morphologies of syngnathids.