Where No Fish Has gone Before: Prosanta Chakrabarty at Real Scientists

We are delighted to welcome our next curator, Dr. Prosanta Chakrabarty/@LSU_FISH, Curator of Fishes and Associate Professor, Museum of Natural Science and Louisiana State University. Prosanta earned his PhD in zoology at the University of Michigan,  USA.

Dr Prosanta Chakrabarty

Dr Prosanta Chakrabarty

Prosanta is a systematist and an ichthyologist studying the evolution and biogeography of both freshwater and marine fishes. Prosanta has travelled over several continents – Central and South America, Caribbean, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans – to study fishes. He’s travelled through Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Honduras, Guatemala, Kuwait, to name but a few countries he’s visited. Prosanta has described over a dozen new fish species; has written two books and was named a TED Fellow in 2016. This week, we can’t wait to learn all about the history of fishes. Here’s Prosanta in his own words, his science origin story.


The only thing I ever wanted to be was a zoologist. I went to the American Museum of Natural History as a kid and fell in love with animals and natural history there.


I did an internship as an undergrad at the American Museum of Natural History as an undergrad and I worked on a fish project with biogeography that I basically turned into a career.


Research in my lab focuses on recovering the relationships of fishes in order to better understand evolutionary processes. My research interests are currently targeting two main fields: the evolution of bioluminescent systems and historical biogeography of freshwater fishes. Bioluminescent systems have evolved multiple times in fishes, predominantly among deep-sea clades. I am particularly interested in using phylogenetic tools to better understand how sexual selection on bioluminescent structures may have played a role in speciation. My biogeographic studies have looked at how fishes with low dispersal ability (such as blind cave fishes) came to be distributed across biogeographic barriers and how the distribution of freshwater fishes explain earth history.


I study where people have never ventured before – and remind everyone how much there is left to explore.


Do you have any interesting external/extracurricular obligations? Being a TED fellow has been really interesting the last few months – outreach overdrive.


Ideal Day Off? Playing with the kids – I have twin daughters 4yrs old. They are amazing little inquisitive things.


Please welcome Prosanta to Real Scientists!




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