Luiz A. Rocha

Curriculum Vitae


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California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA 94118

Phone: 415-379-5370



Assistant Curator and Follett Chair of Ichthyology, California Academy of Sciences, 2011 – present.

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2012 – present.

Research Professor, Biology, San Francisco State University, 2012 – present.


Ph.D., Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, 1999 – 2003.

M.Sc., Zoology, with distinction, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil, 1997 – 1999.

B.Sc., Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil, 1991 – 1996.


Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Science, University of Texas at Austin, 2008 – 2011.

Assistant Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii, 2006 – 2008.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama, 2003 – 2006.


Associate Editor, Journal of Biogeography, 2010 – present.

Associate Editor (Marine Fishes), Zootaxa, 2006 – 2009.

Editorial Board, 17th Brazilian Meeting of Ichthyology, 2006 – 2007.



        “Connectivity of the Pulley Ridge - South Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem: Processes to Decision-Support Tools” National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; with Lead PI Robert Cowen and 28 Co-PIs (US$ 5,000,000 for five years, US$ 162,000 for CAS).


        “Connectivity among reef fish populations at southeastern Brazilian islands: an ecological and population genetic approach” CNPq, Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology; with Co-PI Sergio Floeter (US$ 27,000 for one year)

        “Marine population connectivity at St. Paul’s Rocks, central Atlantic Ocean” CNPq, Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology; with Co-PI Carlos E. L. Ferreira (US$ 23,000 for one year)


        “Phylogeography of Indo-Pacific Reef Fishes” NSF - Biological Oceanography; with P.I. Brian Bowen and 4 other Co-PIs (US$ 510,000 for three years)

        “The evolution and ecology of fish assemblages in a poorly known eastern Atlantic biodiversity hotspot” National Geographic Society; with Co-PI Sergio Floeter (US$ 20,960 for one year)


        “Revisiting connectivity among coral reef fish populations: are abrupt discontinuities in ranges due to self-recruitment or ecological constraints?” National Geographic Society; sole P.I. (US$ 15,000 for one year)

        DIALOG VI (Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Limnology and Oceanography) symposium participant, sponsored by the American Society of Limnol. and Oceanogr. (ASLO)


        Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution Marine Science Network (US$ 80,000 for two years)

        Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution (US$ 35,000 for one year; awarded but declined to receive Marine Science Network fellowship above)


Courses Taught

        Biology of Fishes, University of Texas, Summer 2011.

        Introduction to Oceanography, University of Texas, Spring 2009, 2010, 2011.

        Supervised Teaching, University of Texas, Fall 2009.

        Introduction to Phylogeography, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos, Fall 2009.

        Marine Fish Ecology, University of Texas, Summer 2009.

        Biogeography and Evolution, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Fall 2007.


Teaching Assistant

        Ichthyology, University of Florida, Spring 2003.

        Ichthyology, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil, Spring 1999.

        Vertebrate Zoology, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil, Fall 1997, 1998.

Guest Lectures

        Speciation Seminar, University of Hawaii, 2006. Topic: Speciation in reef fishes.

        Tropical Ecology, STRI/OTS, 2004. Topic: Coral reef fish ecology.

        Ichthyology, University of Florida, 2002. Topic: Reef fish diversity and evolution.

Symposium Organization

        Organized a symposium on “Conservation Genetics and Phylogeography of Fishes” during the 17th Brazilian Meeting of Ichthyology at Itajai, Brazil in January of 2007.

        Organized a mini-symposium, “Ecology, Biology and Biogeography of Brazilian Reef Fishes” during the 14th Brazilian Meeting of Ichthyology, Sao Leopoldo, Brazil, January 2001.


Institutional Activities

        Dive Control Board, UTMSI, 2010-2011.

        Course and Curriculum Committee, UTMSI, 2008-2009.

        Organization Committee, DNA Barcoding Workshop, STRI, 2005.

        Commission on Academic Affairs, STRI, 2004.

Field Experience

        Participated in 49 scientific expeditions and three oceanographic cruises to coastal locations, oceanic islands and banks, including Moorea (French Polynesia), Fatu Hiva (Marquesas), Johnston Atoll, Kwajalein (Marshall Islands), Kure Atoll, Midway Atoll and Christmas (Kiribati) in the Pacific; St. Paul’s Rocks, Atol das Rocas (Brazil), Cubagua (Venezuela), St. Croix (USVI) and Sao Tome (west Africa) in the Atlantic; Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean; and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea to conduct reef fish sampling.


        Bernal, M., W. Ludt, M. Craig, B. W. Bowen and L. A. Rocha. Phylogeography of Halichoeres claudia and Halichoeres ornatissimus: New insights on patterns of population connectivity across the Central-West Pacific. 91st Joint Meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Minneapolis, MN.

        Ludt, W., M. Bernal, B. W. Bowen and  L. A. Rocha. Sea level fluctuations and genetic diversity in two habitats: Comparisons of two lagoon and two seaward reef wrasses (Genus: Halichoeres). 91st Joint Meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Minneapolis, MN.

        Rocha, L. A. Phylogeography of Brazilian reef fishes. XIX Brazilian Ichthyology Meeting. Manaus, Brazil. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A. 2011. Next-generation sequencing and population genomics: an outlook for the future of speciation studies. Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Salt Lake City, UT. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A. 2010. Genic speciation and the accuracy of the molecular clock. 90th Joint Meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Providence, RI.

        Rocha, L. A. 2009. Atlantic reef fish evolution. XIII Brazilian Fish Genetics Conference, Ponta Grossa, Brazil. [Invited]       

        Rocha, L. A. 2007. Speciation and biogeography of Haemulon (Teleostei: Haemulidae). Smithsonian Institution Marine Science Workshop. Washington, DC. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A. 2007. Speciation in coral reef fishes. 17th Brazilian Meeting of Ichthyology. Itajai, Brazil. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A. 2006. The importance of sampling across environmental gradients in connectivity studies. 59th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting. Belize City, Belize. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A., Rocha, C. R. and K. C. Lindeman. 2006. Speciation and biogeography of Haemulon (Teleostei: Haemulidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial genes. 86th Joint Meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. New Orleans, LA.

        Rocha, L. A., D. R. Robertson, C. R. Rocha, J. L. Van Tassell, M. Craig and B. W. Bowen. 2005. Recent invasion of the tropical Atlantic by an Indo-Pacific coral reef fish. 7th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, Taipei, Taiwan.

        Rocha, L. A. 2005. Phylogeography of Atlantic reef fishes. 16th Brazilian Meeting of Ichthyology, Joao Pessoa, Brazil. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A. 2004. Ecological speciation in tropical reef fishes. ASLO DIALOG VI Workshop. Dauphin Island, AL. [Invited]

        Rocha, L. A., D. R. Robertson, C. R. Rocha, J. L. Van Tassell and B. W. Bowen. 2004. Episodic global warming drives interoceanic invasion and transoceanic expansion by a coral-reef fish. Evolution Conference. Fort Collins, CO.


2011    NSF/Fapesp workshop for US-Brazil partnerships, Atlanta, Georgia

            Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz

            NSF/Fapesp workshop for US-Brazil partnerships, Sao Paulo, Brazil

            IUCN Snapper and Grunts Conservation Workshop, Bahamas

            California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

            Symposium on Marine Speciation, Society of Integrative Biology Meeting, Salt Lake City

2010    Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab, University of California, Santa Cruz

            IUCN Damselfish Conservation Workshop, Fiji

            IUCN Surgeonfish Conservation Workshop, Philippines

2009    Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos, Brazil

            IUCN Butterflyfish and Angelfish Workshop, Atlanta, Georgia

            IUCN Parrotfishes Conservation Workshop, Indonesia

            Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

            IUCN Wrasses and Blennies Conservation Workshop, Philippines

2008    IUCN Wrasses Conservation Workshop, Brazil

            Department of Oceangraphy, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil

            Department of Systematics and Ecology, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil

2007    Marine Science Institute, University of Texas Austin

            Smithsonian Institution Marine Science Workshop, Washington DC

            IUCN Grouper Conservation Workshop, Hong Kong

            Brazilian Ichthyology Society Meeting, Itajai, Brazil

            Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Tennessee

2006    Connectivity Symposium, Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Meeting, Belize

            Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii

2005    Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

            Brazilian Ichthyology Society Meeting, Joao Pessoa, Brazil

            Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

2004    Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

            Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara

            ASLO DIALOG VI Workshop, Dauphin Island, Alabama

            Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Bermuda

            Eastern Atlantic fish systematics workshop, FAO-UN, Tenerife, Canary Islands

            Rosenstiel School of Marine Science, University of Miami

2003    Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico

            Department of Systematics and Ecology, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Brazil

2002    Florida Museum of Natural History

2001    Brazilian Ichthyology Society Meeting, Unisinos, Brazil


American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Brazilian Ichthyology Society

International Biogeography Society (Founding member)

Society for the Study of Evolution


Manuscript reviews for:

    Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias

    Animal Behaviour (2)

    Animal Biology

    Aquaculture Research

    Aquatic Living Resources

    Biological Conservation

    Biota Neotropica

    BMC Evolutionary Biology (3)

    Brazilian Journal of Biology

    Bulletin of Marine Science (3)

    Caribbean Journal of Science (2)


    Copeia (4)

    Coral Reefs (5)


    Environmental Biology of Fishes (2)

    Evolution (5)

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (6)

    Genetics and Molecular Biology (2)

    Helgoland Marine Research


    Ichthyological Research

    Journal of Biogeography (10)

    Journal of Fish Biology (4)

    Journal of Heredity (2)

    Journal of Marine Biology

    Journal of the Marine Biological Association (4)

    Genetics and Molecular Biology

    Marine Biology

    Marine Ecology Progress Series (2)

    Marine and Freshwater Research

    Molecular Biology and Evolution

    Molecular Ecology (9)

    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (8)

    Neotropical Ichthyology (4)

    Pacific Science

    PLoS Biology

    PLoS ONE (2)

    Proceedings of the Meeting of the Association of Caribbean Marine Labs

    Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

    Zootaxa (10)

Grant reviews for:

    National Science Foundation – Biological Oceanography

    National Science Foundation – Evolutionary Processes

    National Science Foundation – Systematic Biology

    National Geographic Society

    National Marine Fisheries Service

    New Zealand Royal Society


“Invasive species may increase with global warming” at

“Ocean invaders in deep time” at

“Ocean invaders in deep time” at

“Ocean invaders in deep time” at AAAS news

“The evolution of ring species complexes”, at Scientific American Brazil [in Portuguese]

Faculty of 1000 Evaluations of Ecological Speciation, by John Pandolfi and Mark Hay

“An (ecological) origin of species for tropical reef fish” at

“An (ecological) origin of species for tropical reef fish” at

“An (ecological) origin of species for tropical reef fish” at AAAS news

“Darwin Scores a Point in DNA Test of Fish” at

“Habitat, not isolation, affect species” at the Honolulu Star Bulletin

“Biodiversity of tropical reef fishes” at the University of Hawaii News page