Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box
Search Item

Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Fishes

Carl Hansen
© Smithsonian Institution
bar Luke Tornabene
    Luke Tornabene
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • E-mail: luke.tornabene[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 159
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0159


Ph.D. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
M.S. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
B.S. Hofstra University

Research Interests

My wider interests include the biology, taxonomy and evolution of fishes. I am specifically interested in how changes in morphology, ecology, and life history impact the tempo of fish diversification. I have a strong interest in phylogenomics and the use of next-generation sequencing technology to provide elegant answers to evolutionary questions at or below the species level. My current research projects include:

  • Patterns of speciation and adaptation in mesophotic reef fishes in the Caribbean
  • Testing hypotheses regarding mechanisms of speciation in coral reef fishes of the Indo-Malay Archipelago.
  • Resolving deep phylogenetic relationships of gobies with NGS phylogenomic datasets obtained via targeted gene-capture
  • Evolution of microhabitat association of cryptobenthic reef fishes
  • Evolution of unique life-history traits and reproductive strategies in gobioid fishes
  • Phylogenetic relationships of gobionelline, sicydiine oxudercine and amblyopine gobies
  • Systematics of dwarfgobies, genus Eviota, an ultra-diverse lineage of miniature reef fishes in the Indo-Pacific
  • Character evolution, systematics and habitat association of the American seven-spined gobies (Tribe Gobiosomatini)
  • Assessing extinction risk of Caribbean and tropical Eastern Pacific gobies and sleepers using IUCN Redlist criteria.
  • Tornabene, Luke and Baldwin, Carole C. 2017. A new mesophotic goby, Palatogobius incendius (Teleostei: Gobiidae), and the first record of invasive lionfish preying on undescribed biodiversity. Plos One, 12(5) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0177179

    Baldwin, Carole C., Robertson, D. Ross, Nonaka, Ai and Tornabene, Luke M. 2016. Two new deep-reef basslets (Teleostei, Grammatidae, Lipogramma), with comments on the eco-evolutionary relationships of the genus. ZooKeys, 638: 45-82. doi:10.3897/zookeys.638.10455

    Tornabene, Luke M., Valdez, S., Erdmann, M. V. and Pezold, Frank L. 2016. Multi-locus sequence data reveal a new species of coral reef goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Eviota ), and evidence of Pliocene vicariance across the Coral Triangle. Journal of fish biology, 88(5): 1811-1834. doi:10.1111/jfb.12947

    Tornabene, Luke, Van Tassell, James L., Gilmore, Richard G., Robertson, D. Ross, Young, Forrest and Baldwin, Carole C. 2016. Molecular phylogeny, analysis of character evolution, and submersible collections enable a new classification of a diverse group of gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Nes subgroup), including nine new species and four new genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 177(4): 764-812. doi:10.1111/zoj.12394

    Tornabene, Luke M., van Tassell, James L., Robertson, D. Ross and Baldwin, Carole C. 2016. Repeated invasions into the twilight zone: evolutionary origins of a novel assemblage of fishes from deep Caribbean reefs. Molecular ecology, 25(15): 3662-3682. doi:10.1111/mec.13704

    Tornabene, Luke M., Robertson, D. Ross and Baldwin, Carole C. 2016. Varicus lacerta, a new species of goby (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Gobiosomatini, Nes subgroup) from a mesophotic reef in the southern Caribbean. ZooKeys, 596: 143-156. doi:10.3897/zookeys.596.8217

    Tornabene, Luke M., Valdez, Samantha, Erdmann, Mark and Pezold, Frank 2015. Support for a 'Center of Origin' in the Coral Triangle: Cryptic diversity, recent speciation, and local endemism in a diverse lineage of reef fishes (Gobiidae: Eviota). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 82(Pt. A): 200-210. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.09.012

    Van Tassell, James L., Joyeux, Jean-Christophe, Macieira, Raphael Mariano and Tornabene, Luke M. 2015. Status of Gobiosoma (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from Brazil: description of a new species, redescription of G. hemigymnum, molecular phylogeny of the genus, and key to Atlantic species. Zootaxa, 4007(4): 451 doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4007.4.1

    Tornabene, Luke, Ahmadia, Gabby N. and Williams, Jeffrey T. 2013. Four new species of dwarfgobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Eviota ) from the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas and Society Archipelagos, French Polynesia. Systematics and Biodiversity, 11(3): 363-380. doi:10.1080/14772000.2013.819822

    [ TOP ]