Thomas NearResearch in my laboratory is focused broadly on the use of phylogenetic hypotheses for studying patterns of speciation and adaptive radiation in monophyletic groups of teleost fishes. Much of our primary work involves the testing and construction of phylogenetic hypotheses using DNA sequences. Molecular phylogenetic trees are used in studies of fossil-calibration of molecular clocks, geographic modes of speciation, the evolution of morphological and ecological disparity, and estimation of lineage-specific diversification rates.

Current research is focused on several lineages of North American freshwater fishes, as well as a clade of fishes endemic to the waters surrounding Antarctica. Investigations are focused on three systems. (1) Geographic patterns of speciation and tempo of diversification in the North American endemic daters (Etheostomatinae). (2) Divergence time estimation using fossil-calibrated molecular clocks and the evolution of reproductive isolation in the North American endemic sunfishes and black basses (Centrarchidae). (3) Phylogenetics of adaptive radiation in Antarctic notothenioid fishes.

I serve as a curator of the Ichthyology collection in the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History