A new publication, “Fishes of the Greater Mekong Ecosystem,” by a University of Michigan alumnus and coauthors is now available through the U-M Museum of Zoology.

The authors are Walter J. Rainboth, Chavalit Vidthayanon, and Mai Dinh Yen. Rainboth is a University of Michigan alumnus (Ph.D. Biology 1981) whose advisor was Professor Emeritus Gerry Smith.

“Many of the specimens depicted in the publication were sampled and curated with the help of Museum of Zoology Fish Division personnel and are now in the UMMZ collection,” said Professor Diarmaid Ó Foighil, director and curator of the UMMZ.

All 2,541 species of fishes known to occur within the Greater Mekong Ecosystem of Southeast Asia are listed and illustrated and there is an overview of basin geology and biogeography. The illustrations are vouchers for the species listed and can help with the identification of any species encountered in the basin, whether from fisherman’s net or market. The target audience includes biologists across multiple disciplines including systematics, taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, conservation and fisheries.

Although the size of its basin is smaller, the Mekong’s freshwater fish diversity approaches estimates for the Amazon or the Congo. That diversity supports significant fisheries, but is now seriously threatened by industrialization, especially dam construction. By providing the first comprehensive reference of the Mekong’s rich ichthyofauna, this publication may facilitate rational conservation planning for one of the planet’s great river biotas.

The journal, Miscellaneous Publications Museum of Zoology University of Michigan, is edited by Professor Emeritus J.B.  Burch. Rainboth is currently associate professor of biology in the Department of Biology/Microbiology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

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