Luke Tornabene

Luke Tornabene

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
&  Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Research interests

Luke Tornabene is an ichthyologist studying the evolutionary relationships and biodiversity of fishes. His research focuses on identifying the factors that drive phenotypic, ecological and taxonomic diversification in fishes. Many of his current research projects involve the “Twilight Zone” — a diverse yet poorly studied region of the ocean that lies below the depths reachable by SCUBA divers and above the depths typically studied by deep-sea biologists. A large body of his work utilizes gobies, the most taxonomically and ecologically diverse family of marine fishes in the world, as a model to study patterns of speciation and adaptation in the marine environment. His systematic research uses a multi-disciplinary approach that relies on morphological data from specimens from natural history collections, molecular phylogenetic and phylogenomic analyses, and ecological data. He is currently the Curator of Fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.


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

Molecular phylogeny, analysis of character evolution, and submersible collections enable a new classification of a diverse group of gobies (Teleost... | article
Tornabene L, Van Tassell JL, Gilmore RG, Robertson DR, Young F, Baldwin CC (2016)
Zool J Linn Soc 177:764–812

Repeated invasions into the twilight zone: evolutionary origins of a novel assemblage of fishes from deep Caribbean reefs | article
Tornabene L, van Tassell JL, Robertson DR, Baldwin CC (2016)
Mol Ecol 25:3662-3682

Varicus lacerta, a new species of goby (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Gobiosomatini, Nes subgroup) from a mesophotic reef in the southern Caribbean | article
Tornabene L, Robertson DR, Baldwin CC (2016)
Zookeys 596:143-156

A new mesophotic goby, Palatogobius incendius (Teleostei: Gobiidae), and the first record of invasive lionfish preying on undescribed biodiversity | article
Tornabene L, Baldwin CC (2017)
PLoS ONE 12:e0177179

Two new deep-reef basslets (Teleostei, Grammatidae, Lipogramma), with comments on the eco-evolutionary relationships of the genus | article
Baldwin CC, Robertson DR, Nonaka A, Tornabene L (2016)

More new deep-reef basslets (Teleostei, Grammatidae, Lipogramma), with updates on the eco-evolutionary relationships within the genus | article
Baldwin CC, Tornabene L, Robertson DR, Nonaka A, Gilmore G (2018)
Zookeys 729:129-161

Below the Mesophotic | article
Baldwin CC, Tornabene L, Robertson DR (2018)
Scientific Reports 8:1-13

Research keywords
Research platform experience
  SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)
  Manned Submersible
Research summary (from publications)