SWS: Dr. Lynne Parenti, Ichthyologist (NMNH)

Dr. Lynne R. Parenti received a BS in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York in 1975, and a PhD in Biology from the City University of New York in 1980.

She was born in 1954 on Manhattan island and grew up in the rural New York City borough of Staten Island. Dr. Parenti developed an early interest in natural history while exploring salt marshes and decaying docks along the Arthur Kill, the waterway that separates Staten Island from New Jersey. She began her life-long study of comparative vertebrate anatomy while an undergraduate at Stony Brook University from which she received her B.S. in 1975. A mentor at Stony Brook encouraged her to pursue a career in systematic ichthyology and introduced her to the research community at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Dr. Parenti was awarded her Ph.D. in 1980 from the joint graduate training program in systematic biology between AMNH and the City University of New York.

After postdoctoral stints in Washington, London, and San Francisco, she returned to the Smithsonian in 1990 as Curator of Fishes and Research Scientist. Dr. Parenti's research focuses on: systematics and biogeography of bony fishes, use of reproductive biology and other neglected characters in the study of bony fish phylogeny, and the theory and methods of biogeography. She has collected freshwater and coastal marine fishes in the field in Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Malay Peninsula and Singapore, Taiwan, China, Hawaii, Tasmania and New Zealand, as well as Cuba and elsewhere in the neotropics.

Dr. Parenti has written over 100 scientific publications including four books. She is co-editor of "Interrelationships of Fishes" (1996, Academic Press), and "Ecology of the Marine Fishes of Cuba" (2002, Smithsonian Institution Press), which received an annual award from the Academia de Ciencias, Cuba, for an outstanding scientific publication. She is co-author of "Cladistic biogeography" (1986, 1999, Oxford University Press). Her most recent book, the co-authored "Comparative Biogeography: Discovering and Classifying Biogeographical Patterns of a Dynamic Earth" (2009, University of California Press), was awarded the Smithsonian Secretary's Research Prize (2010) for an outstanding research publication.

Dr. Parenti is the first woman ichthyologist elected President of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (2005), is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Honorary Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and Honorary member of the Indonesian Ichthyological Society. She was a Distinguished Lecturer in the Petrus Artedi Tricentennial Symposium on Ichthyology, Stockholm (2005). Dr. Parenti currently mentors graduate students as an adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University.

Additional Information


Dr. Parenti collecting freshwater fishes in Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1995, with a large, scoop net.


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