Nathan K. Lujan

Ichthyologist, researcher and conservationist

New York, USA
BAP Expert Nathan K. Lujan

Nathan K. Lujan works as a Gerstner Scholar at the Department of Ichthyology of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). He is a scientist interested in the conservation, origins, and interactions of freshwater fishes, with a particular focus on fishes from eastern North America and tropical South America.

Freshwater ecosystems occupy <0.08% of Earth’s surface, yet host approximately 60% of all described species. Unfortunately, freshwater biodiversity is disappearing a lot faster than terrestrial or marine biota due to a wide range of environmental impacts that disproportionately affect streams, rivers and lakes. Still, thousands of freshwater species remain unknown to science, and this inhibits their conservation.

Nathan’s research strives to discover and describe new species, to understand how species feed and interact, and to map where they are distributed, both in nature and the evolutionary tree of life. Natural history museums provide the foundation for this research, and Nathan’s field work helps build these libraries of life through the collection of fresh specimens, tissues, and photographs of species from various remote corners of the world.

Until now, he has conducted over 20 expeditions to 11 countries in the Americas and Africa, yielding over 14,000 specimen lots and 7,500 tissues in 13 museums. This work has facilitated the discovery and description of new fish and aquatic invertebrate species, generated new insights into the ecology and evolution of diverse fish assemblages, and helped the development of science-based conservation strategies for various businesses, governments and NGOs.

Expert in the following geographical regions:
  • South America
  • North America
  • Africa
Expert in the following fish groups:
  • Siluriformes, Characiformes, Mormyriformes, Perciformes (Cichlidae)