James L. Van Tassell
Research Associate-in-Residence

Dept. of Biology

114 Hofstra University

Hempstead, NY 11549

 

Telephone:     Office:  516-463-5197; Cell 516-606-9661

E-mail:            jvantassell@gobiidae.com

Teaching Positions:   

Hofstra University:– 2003 – present; Adjunct Assistant Professor

H. Frank Carey High School:- 1969 – 2000; Science Research Program for Gifted and Talented students; elective courses in Ecology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Regents Biology, AP Biology

Adelphi University: 1975 - 1988; Adjunct lecturer for courses in Environmental Geology and Physical Problems of the Metropolitan Region

Research positions:

            Post Doctoral Visiting Scientist: June 2004 – May 2006, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Research Associate-in-Residence: 2005-present; Dept. of Ichthyology, American Museum of Natural History

Research Associate-in-Residence: 2003- present; Biology Department; 114 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549

Field Associate 1986 – 1997; Dept. of Ichthyology; American Museum of Natural History

Website Production: Produced and maintain gobiidae.com; Information pertaining to the systematics, distribution, identification, methods, and resources necessary for the study of gobioid fishes of the Americas.

Degrees/Certificates:

Ph.D. Biology, Graduate Center, City University of New York 1998

M.A. Biology, Graduate Center, City University of New York 1996

M.S. Biology, Adelphi University 1975

B.S. Biology, Wagner College 1969

New York State Permanent Teaching Certificate for Biology and General Science

SCUBA certifications: PADI - Open Water Diver; PADI - Equipment Specialist; PADI - Advanced Open Water Diver; Nitrox certified

 

Courses/Material Developed:

Ecology - senior high school, one semester elective course

Environmental Pollution - senior high school, one semester elective course Marine Biology - senior high school, one semester elective course

Science Research Program for Gifted and Talented students grades 9-12

Lab Manual in Field Biology and Water Pollution Analysis

Professional Societies:

American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Ichthyological Society of Japan
Sigma XI
Soc. Francaise d’Ichtyologie

Grants Awarded:

2002    Smithsonian Short term Visitor Fellowship to work with Ross Robertson at STRI – Dec 2-23, 2002

2001    Smithsonian Fellowship to work with Carole Baldwin at USNM – Dec. 2001

1995    EarthWatch Research Grant ($48,000) To continue the study of shore fish populations on the island of Gran Canaria

1994    Canary Island Government. Fishery and Agriculture funding (300,000 pts) to aid the studies on El Hierro.

1994    Earthwatch Research Grant ($48,000) To study the dermersal fish population on Gran Canaria and El Hierro

1993    Earthwatch Research Grant ($44,850) To continue the study of tidepool ecology, benthic algae, and demersal fish populations on the islands of Gran Canaria and Lanzerote.

1992    Earthwatch Research Grant ($44,000) To study the tidepool ecology, benthic algae, and demersal fish populations on the Island of Gran Canaria.

1991    Earthwatch Research Grant ($44,000) study the tidepool ecology, benthic algae, and demersal fish populations on the Island of Gran Canaria.

1990    Canary Island Government. of Gran Canaria Grant ($56,000) To study the demersal fish  populations of Fuertaventura.

1990    Canary Island Grant from the Province of Mogan ($4,000) To construct an experimental artificial reef of the south shore of Gran Canaria.

1990    Earthwatch Research Grant ($38,000) To study the demersal fish populations of Fuertaventura in the Canarian Archipelico and make recommendations for habitat restoration.

1989    Canary Islands Ministry of Tourism Grant ($16,000) Supplied equipment and transportation for the staff involved in the Earthwatch Research Grant.

1989    Earthwatch Research Grant ($38,000) To study the dermersal fish populations of El Hierro in the Canarian Archipelago and make recommendations for the construction of artificial reefs and restoration of habitat damaged by the development of the tourist industry.

1988    Smithsonian Institution Fellowship ($300) To curate their collection of fishes in the family Gobiidae from the eastern Atlantic, West Africa, Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas.

1988    Canary Islands Ministry of Tourism Grant ($5,000) To conduct a comparative study of the inter-island variation of fishes from the Islands of Gran Canaria, Fuertaventura, Lanzerote, Tenerife, and El Hierro and report on the factors contributing to those variations

1987    Earthwatch Research Grant ($20,000) To investigate the factors affecting homing behavior in tidepool fishes of the Canary Islands

1986    Earthwatch Research Grant ($18,000) To investigate the factors affecting homing behavior in tidepool fishes of the Canary Islands

1982    Sigma Xi Grant - In-Aid of Research ($250) To investigate the ecology and homing behavior of tidepool fishes of the Canary Islands

 

Research Areas:

Systematics of fishes in the Family Gobiidae with emphasis on the American Seven-spined gobies; ecology, distribution, and systematics of fishes of the Canary Islands. Currently working with Rafa Zardoya (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid) and Lukas Ruber (Natural History Museum, England) on an overall phylogeny of the tribe Gobiosomatini. 

Current Research in progress:

Systematic position of the Gobiosomatini within the Gobioidei – with Lukas Ruber and Raphael Zardoya at the Museo Nacional de Cienias Naturales, Madrid

Revision of Bollmannia – with Mike Taylor (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge),

Description of a new gobiid genus – with Mike Taylor (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge)

A new species of Evermannichthys - with Mike Taylor (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge)

A new species of Microgobius from the eastern Pacific – with Ross Robertson (STRI, Panama)

Gobiid fauna of Brazil – with Jean-Christophe Joyeux and Joao Gasperini (Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo, Brasil)

A new species of Gobiosoma from El Salvador – with Carole Baldwin (National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.)

Field Experience:

2006         Saba Bank – Jan 2-16; Biodiversity study funded by Conservation International

2005         Venezuela – Sept 20-Oct 3; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2005         Costa Rica – June 28-July 15; Fish survey of Pacific coast, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, R/V Urracca.

2005         Bahamas – May 25-June 6; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2005         Curacao – Feb 2-14; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2004         Panama Atlantic – June 3-15, Bocas del Toro, R/V Urracca, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2004         Florida – Sept. 2-8; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2004         Florida – Nov 29-Dec 13; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project “Shore Fishes of the Greater Caribbean”

2003         Brazil – Feb 23- March 10 collecting in Sao Paulo and Vitoria

2003         Curacao – Feb 8-16 collecting with M, Taylor

2002         Florida Keys – 2 weeks collecting

2002         Gulf of Mexico collecting trip from Texas to Florida – 3 weeks

2002         Canary Islands – 1 week working on tidepool fishes

2002         Panama – 4 weeks collecting gobiid fishes along the Pacific coast of Panama with D. Ross Robertson

2002         Belize – 2 week trip to Smithsonian Research Station on Carrie Bow Cay to study larval fishes with C. Baldwin and D. Smith USNM

2001         Mexico trip - Aug 1 - Sept. 25 collecting by SCUBA with Sean Frisby, Ross Robertson, Kristie Kaiser

2001         Jamaica and Cayman Islands - June 2-17 collecting with Mike Taylor

2001         Panama Canal - 5 days collecting in the canal with D. Ross Robertson

2001         El Salvador - Smithsonian Tropical Research Station/Smithsonian research cruise - March 17 days collecting by SCUBA and trawls.

2001         Florida Collecting Trip to the Keys - 3 weeks in January, with Forrest Young

2000         Canary Islands collecting trip - 4 weeks collecting gobiids on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote with S. Lensch, C. Balon, and J. Mataline.

2000         Florida Keys collecting trip - 7 days (August) collecting gobiids with M. Taylor and J. Maniscalco.

2000         Panama Canal Zone collecting trip - 20 days (July-August) Collecting gobiids from the canal zone, Panama Bay, and the Atlantic Coast of Panama with D. Thorsen

2000         Panama Research Cruse - 10 days; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute collecting from Panama Bay west to Costa Rica

1999         Mexico - 6 week trip collecting and studying the gobiid fauna of the Gulf of California with D. Thorsen

1998         Canary Islands - 5 weeks; Continue study of tidepool and nearshore fishes with D. Thorsen, J. Maniscalso, J. Hajagos, S. Frisby, and M. Weber.

1997         Canary Islands - 6 weeks; Comparative study of shorefishes of Gran Canaria

1995         Canary Islands - 9 weeks; Earthwatch grant to study tidepool and nearshore fishes. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1994         Canary Islands - 9 weeks; quantitative study of the shore fishes of Gran Canaria and El Hierro. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1993         Canary Islands - 9 weeks; quantitative study of shore fishes and tidepool ecology of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1992         Canary Islands - 9 weeks; quantitative study of shore fishes and tidepool ecology of the Island of Gran Canaria. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1991         Canary Islands - 8 weeks; quantitative study of shore fishes and tidepool ecology of the Island of Gran Canaria. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1990         Canary Islands - 8 weeks; quantitative study of shore fishes and tidepool ecology of the Island of Fuerteventura. Earthwatch Research Expedition

1989         Madeira - 1 week; study distribution of Gobiid fauna on Madeira and Diserta Islands, with P.J. Miller

1989         Canary Islands - 9 weeks; quantitative study of the dermersal fish populations on the Island of El Hierro; with Earthwatch Research Teams, S. Bortone, A. Brito

1988         Canary Islands - five weeks; comparison of tidepool and sublittoral fishes from the Islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, and El Hierro with A. Brito, Y. Murata, D. Terrone, C. Burmester.

1987         Canary Islands - nine weeks; homing behavior of tidepool fishes from Gran Canaria with J.K. Dooley and Earthwatch Research Teams

1986         Canary Islands - nine weeks; homing behavior of tidepool fishes from Gran Canaria with J.K. Dooley and Earthwatch Research Teams

1985         Canary Islands - eight weeks; collect gobies and continue tidepool ecology and homing experiments on Gran Canaria with W. Wollheim

1984         Canary Islands - eight weeks; collecting gobies and continuing homing experiments on Gran Canaria with C. Lief

1983         Canary Islands - seven weeks; collecting gobies, continuing homing experiments, photographing littoral fishes with J.K. Dooley

1982         Canary Islands - five weeks; ecology and homing behavior of tidepool fishes from Gran Canaria with D. Wilson

1980         Canary Islands - five weeks; collect tidepool and littoral fishes from Gran Canaria, Fuertaventura, Lanzerote, and Tenerife with J.K. Dooley

1979         Canary Islands- four weeks; collect tidepool and littoral fishes from Gran Canaria with J.K. Dooley

1978         Canary Islands - four weeks; Ecology of tidepool fishes on Gran Canaria and Tenerife with J. Heinze.

1977         Canary Islands - one week field course to study the terrestrial and marine environments of Gran Canaria

Papers Presented :

2001         Deep-sea Gobies: Their impact on our understanding of gobiid evolution and biogeography. J. Van Tassell; Ocean 2001 Conference, Nov. 5-9, Honolulu, Hawaii

2001         Molecular Phylogeny of the Tribe Gobiosomini. J. Van Tassell, L. Ruber, and R. Zardoya; ASIH meetings Penn. State University.

2000         Larval development of Gobiosoma (Tigrigobius) multifasciatum (Teleostie: Gobiidae) with comments on the phylogeny of Gobiosoma. Van Tassell, J.L., Muller, B. & McLaughlin, D.

2000         Physical factors affecting the distribution, abundance and diversity of tidepool fishes along the southern coast of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Maniscalco, J. & Van Tassell, J.L.; ASIH Meetings, La Paz, Mexico, June 2000

2000         Culture techniques for laboratory or commercial production of gobiid fishes. Gardner, T & Van Tassell, J.L.; ASIH meetings La Paz, Mexico; June 2000.

1998         The Gobiid (Teleostei: Gobiidae) fauna of the Canary Islands with comments on biogeography.  III Symposium Fauna and Flora of the Atlantic Islands, Universidade dos Acores.

1998         A visual assessment of the inshore fishes of Gran Canaria. With J.H.Hajagos, .  III Symposium Fauna and Flora of the Atlantic Islands, Universidade dos Acores.

1998         Infestation of the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Scaridae), by the fish louse, Anilocra physodes (Isopoda: Cymothoidae), in the Canary Islands.  With D. Thorsen and K.J. Mille. III Symposium Fauna and Flora of the Atlantic Islands, Universidade dos Acores.

1997         Ontogeny and systematic relationships within the Gobiosomini Tribe (Pisces, Gobiidae).  With A.Vagelli.  ASIH conference Seattle, WA.

1996         The Gobiosomini Tribe - An Update, ASIH Conference, New Orleans

1996         Shore Fish Populations in the Canary Islands - Changes over Time; II Symposium Fauna and Flora of the Atlantic Islands, Gran Canaria, Feb 12-16

1995         Phylogenetic Analysis of the Gobiosominni Tribe.  ASIH Conference Edmonton Canada.

1994         Diver accuracy in estimating lengths of the parrotfish, Sparasoma cretense, in situ. with Keith Mille. ASIH Conference, Los Angeles, CA

1994         The Gobiosomini Tribe - Monophyletic or Paraphyletic? ASIH Conf. Los Angeles, CA.

1993         Phylogenetic Analysis of the Genus Gobiosoma. ASIH Conf. Austin Texas.

1992         Intertidal pool fish community composition of the Islands of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. ASIH Conf. Illinois. with R. Cody

1992         Earthwatch Research Program in the Canary Islands. Earthwatch Principal Investigators Conf.; Harvard University, Mass.

1991         Fish aggregating device (FAD) enhancement of nearshore fisheries in the Canary Islands., with S. Bortone, A. Brito, and J. Falcon; Fifth International Conf. on Artificial Habitats for Fisheries, Long Beach, CA.

1991         Earthwatch Expedition in the Canary Islands. American Museum of Natural History, New York

1991         Dermersal Fish Population and Tidepool Ecology of the Canary Islands. Invited lecturer at the University of Gran Canaria

1991         Earthwatch Research Program in the Canary  Islands. Earthwatch Principal Investigators  Conf. Harvard University, Mass.

1990         A visual Assessment of the Inshore Fishes off El Hierro, Canary Islands. ASIH Meetings, Charleston SC, with Steve Bortone.

1990         Status and Relationships of the Neotropical Gobiid Tribe, Gobiosomini. ASIH Meetings, Charleston SC, with Ray Birdsong

1989         Earthwatch Research Program in the Canary  Islands. Earthwatch meeting, San Francisco, CA.

1987         Shore fishes of the Canary Islands. Earthwatch Principal Investigators Conf. Harvard University, Mass.

1983         Evidence for Magnetic Homing in Tidepool Fishes. at ASIH meetings in Florida.

1981         Factors Affecting the Distribution of Tidepool Fishes of the Canary Islands. at ASIH meeting in Oregon (with J.K. Dooley)

1980         Tidepool Fishes of the Canary Islands. at ASIH meeting in Texas (with J.K. Dooley)

1979         Ecology of Tidepool Fishes of the Canary Islands. at ASIH meeting in Maine. (with J.K. Dooley)

Publications:

2006          Beldade, R., Van Tassell, J.L., and Goncalves, E.J. The first record of Chromogobius britoi (Teleostei: Gobiidae) on the mainland European coast. Journal of Fish Biology 68:608-612.

2005          Rocha, L.A., Robertson, D.R., Rocha, C.R., Van Tassell, J.L., Craig, M.T., and Bowens, B.W. Recent invasion of the tropical Atlantic by an Indo-Pacific coral reef fish. Molecular Ecology 14:3921-3928.

2004         Van Tassell, J.L. and Baldwin, C.C. A review of the gobiid genus Akko (Teleostei: Gobiidae) with description of a new species. Zootaxa 462:1-15.

2003         Gobiidae. D. Ross Robertson and J.L. Van Tassell. In: Shorefishes of the Tropical east Pacific by D. Ross Robertson and G. Allen. Smithsonian Publication. In Press

2003         Ruber, L, Van Tassell, J.L. and Zardoya, R. Rapid speciation and ecological divergence in the American seven-spined gobies (Gobiidae, Gobiosomatini) inferred from a molecular phylogeny. Evolution 57(7): 1584-1598,

2002         Taylor, M. and Van Tassell, J.L. Observations on Microhabitat utilization by three widely distributed Neotropical gobies of the genus Elacatinus. Copeia 2002(4):1134-1136

2001         Van Tassell, J.L. A new species of Chromogobius from the eastern Atlantic. Copeia 2001(4):1073-1080.

2001         Hajagos, J.H and J.L. Van Tassell. A visual survey of the inshore fish communities of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). Arquipelago supl. 2, part B:95-99.

2000         Thorsen, D., Mille, K.J., Van Tassell, J.L. and J.G. Hajagos. Infestation of the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Scaridae), by the fish louse, Anilocra physodes (Isopoda: Cymothoidae), in the Canary Islands.  Cybium 24(1):45-59.

1995         Mille, K. and J.L. Van Tassell. Accuracy in estimating length of Sparisoma cretense during underwater visual surveys. NE Gulf Science.

1994         Van Tassell, J.L., Brito, A., and S.A. Bortone. Cleaning Behavior among marine fishes and invertebrates in the Canary Islands. Cybium 18(2):117-127.

1994         Bortone, S.A., Van Tassell, J.L., Brito, A., Falcon, J.M., Mena, J. And Bundrick, C.M. Enhancement of the nearshore fish assemblage in the Canary Islands with artificial habitats. Bull. Of Mar. Sci. 55(2-3): 602-608.

1994         Bortone, S.A.; Van Tassell, J.L.; Brito, A.; Falcon, J.; Mena, J. and C.M. Bundrick. Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) Enhancement of Nearshore Fish Assemblage in The Canary Islands. Bull. Mar. Sci.

1992         Bortone, S.A., Van Tassell, J.L., Brito, A, Falcon, J, and C.M. Bundrick. Visual census as a means to estimate standing biomass, length, and growth in fishes. Proc. American Acad. Underwater Sciences, Diving for Science. 12:13-21.

1991         Van Tassell, J.L.; Bortone, S.A.; Brito, A.; Falcon, J.M.; Betencort, M. Report on the Fishes of the Canary Islands ‑ Compiled from the Earthwatch Expeditions on El Hierro (1989) and Fuerteventura (1990). 250 pp.

1991         Bortone, S.A.; Van Tassell, J.; Brito, A.; Falcon, J.M.; and Bundrick, C.M. A Visual Assessment of the Inshore Fishes and Fishery Resources off El Hierro, Canary Islands: A Baseline Survey. Sci. Mar. 55(3):529-541.

1988         Van Tassell, J.L. and Y. Murata. Effects of tourism on the fishes of the Canary Islands. Report prepared for the Ministry of Tourism, Gran Canaria.

1988         Van Tassell, J.L.; P.J. Miller and A. Brito. A Revision of Vanneagobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae), with description of a new species. J. Nat. History 22:545-567.

1988         Van Tassell, J.L. A New Species of Didogobius (Perciformes: Gobiidae) from the Canary Islands. Am. Mus. Novitates, No. 2906, 8p.

1985         Dooley, J.K.; J.L. Van Tassell and A. Brito. An Annotated Checklist of Shorefishes of the  Canary Islands. Am. Mus. Novitates, No.2824: 49 pp.

Related Environmental Activities:

Organized the H. F. Carey High School Ecology Council in 1970 and was Adviser to the Ecology Council until 1997. The Council started a recycling program in 1970, constructed a recycling storage center on school grounds in 1977, and is now the longest operating, largest volume recycling center in the New York State. In 1978 the Council constructed a forest ecosystem in one of the school’s courtyards. This forest now attracts many migratory birds, houses over 100 native plants, and is recognized by the Nature Conservancy as a natural resource of Long Island. The Council became active in the United Nation’s Global Youth Forum in 1990, spending two years on the planning committee, before the Forum moved out of New York. In 1991 the Council was recognized by the United Nation’s Environmental Programme as one of the top 10 youth environmental organizations in the world. The Ecology Council started, in conjunction with New York University’s Environmental Education Program, a telecommunications event in 1992 linking youth environmental groups around the world. The event now known as Youth CaN currently holds its annual event at the American Museum of Natural History. Each year over 1000 students participated in the event along with students in 10 other countries that participate via videoconference links.

Public Press:

The Canary Island expedition receives TV, radio, and local press coverage in the Canary Islands on a regular basis. In 1994 there were three TV news programs, which featured the expedition, two in the Canary Islands and one in mainland Spain

Information and reports on the expeditions findings have appeared in the Sunday New York Times, Elle magazine, Apnea(a Spanish diving magazine), all local newspapers in the Canary Islands, all local radio stations in the Canary Islands and SwissAir’s in flight magazine

Public lectures:

1995         Chicago, IL. Invited speaker at the Shed Aquarium Lecture series.  

1992         New York, NY. American Museum of Natural History. Invited speaker for a program run by Earthwatch.

1990         San Francisco, CA. Invited speaker by Earthwatch.

1988-1996      Presented talks at the Earthwatch Principal Investigators conference in Boston.