Mark Henry Sabaj returns 9/7

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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:03 am
Location: Norwalk, OH

Mark Henry Sabaj returns 9/7

Post by LewC » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:50 am

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September, 2018

Mark Henry Sabaj
Sabaj photo.jpg

Raised in Brookfield, Illinois, Mark Henry Sabaj has a B.S. (1990) and M.S. (1992) from the University of Richmond, Virginia, and a Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

His career in ichthyology began as an undergraduate in 1989 when Drs. William S. Woolcott and Eugene G. Maurakis invited him to assist their field studies and filming of spawning behaviors in nest-building chubs and dace in the streams of eastern North America. His Master’s thesis documented newly observed reproductive strategies in five species of minnows in the genera Exoglossum, Nocomis, Rhinichthys and Semotilus.

In 1992, he became a doctoral student of Lawrence M. Page, and from 1995-2000 served as full-time collection manager of fishes at the Illinois Natural History Survey. In 2001, he relocated to Philadelphia to become Collection Manager of Fishes at The Academy of Natural Sciences. In 2013, he became The Academy’s Interim Curator of Fishes.

Between 1991 and 2018 he published 56 peer-reviewed papers on topics that include spawning behaviors in minnows, darters and loricariids, and taxonomic descriptions of 33 new taxa, including catfishes in the families Doradidae, Loricariidae, Akysidae and Aspredinidae, as well as a river ray, a threadfin, an Apistogramma, two crayfish species and a freshwater sponge. His specific area of taxonomic expertise is the catfish family Doradidae (thorny catfishes).

Mark has field and collecting experience in freshwater ecosystems throughout the United States and on four continents including a total of 40 expeditions to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Guyana, Mongolia, Peru, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela. His 1998 Expedition to Kaiteur Falls, Guyana, was featured in a 2002 article in National Geographic entitled “Catfish Hunters”, and his most recent work in Mongolia is being filmed for a documentary on the geology of the Hangay Plateau. He was a co-Principal Investigator on the All Catfish Species Inventory (, a global project funded by the US National Science Foundation to discover and classify all species of catfishes. In 2013, NSF funded his latest collaborative project entitled “Baseline Survey of the Lower Xingu River Rapids, Brazil: a Highly Diverse, Globally Unique, and Immediately Imperiled Ecosystem”. Mark also appears in three episodes of the Netflix series “72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America” released in 2017.

He lives with his daughter Sofia and girlfriend Shinobu Habauchi (and her son Rick) in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Mark won the 2016 Jim Smith Award grant for a project involving the identification, labeling and imaging of a collection of South American fish specimens owned by the 19th Century ichthyologist Edward Drinker Cope. At our Sept 7 meeting, he will report on this project and talk about collecting catfish in Colombia.

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