John Sparks

John Sparks

Department of Ichthyology
American Museum of Natural History  (United States of America)

Research interests

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John Sparks travels the world in search of bioluminescent and biofluorescent marine organisms. His research focuses on the evolution and diversification of the bacteria-driven bioluminescent signaling system in ponyfishes—small, silvery fishes restricted to the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific that have structurally complex light organs surrounding their throats—as well as the evolution of specialized hearing in marine and freshwater fishes. Dr. Sparks’ recent fieldwork includes biotic surveys and inventories of both freshwater and nearshore marine fishes in Madagascar, the Indo-Pacific region, South America, the western Atlantic, and the Caribbean. He is a professor in the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the Museum and an adjunct professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Dr. Sparks received his M. Sc. degree in biology from the University of Michigan in 1997 and his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan in 2001. He joined the Museum in 2002.


  Please note that only publications relevant to mesophotic reefs are indexed.

A new mesophotic clingfish (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) from the Bahamas | article
Sparks JS, Gruber DF (2012)
Copeia 2012:251-256

Adaptive evolution of eel fluorescent proteins from fatty acid binding proteins produces bright fluorescence in the marine environment | article
Gruber DF, Gaffney JP, Mehr S, DeSalle R, Sparks JS, Platisa J, Pieribone VA (2015)
PLoS ONE 10:e0140972

A novel fish sampling system for ROVs | article
Chaloux N, Phillips BT, Gruber DF, Schelly RC, Sparks JS (2020)
Deep Sea Res Part 1 Oceanogr Res Pap

Research keywords
Photographs (of John Sparks)

Research summary (from publications)