Seated in the Biology Department of Boston University and the Boston University Marine Program since 1994, the Kaufman Lab is involved in several areas of basic and applied research in aquatic ecology, marine biology, and the evolution of fishes. On all fronts we are interested in the role, value, and preservation of biological diversity in ecological communities.

One of our primary interests is the study of the evolution of species flocks in the Great Lakes of East Africa, with a special focus on Lake Victoria. This project includes biotic survey of the headwaters of the White Nile, and laboratory studies on the morpholgy, ecology and genetics of haplochromine cichlids. These are the fastest-evolving and most rapidly disappearing fishes on earth. Select Lake Victoria from the Projects menu above to learn more.


Some of our resources are oriented toward understanding the importance of skeletal plasticity in the wild, and the use of fishes as laboratory models for the study of human bone disease. Collectively, this body of work has employed a variety of methods, including morphometric and computer image analysis; comparative anatomy, kinematics, and histochemistry; field exploration and sampling; systematics; and the study of fish behavior in the laboratory. Select Tautog from the Projects menu above to learn more about our most recent study of fish bone plasticity.

One goal of applied research in our lab is to develop the science necessary for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and fishery resources. Currently we are working on ways of conserving and restoring the indigenous species of tropical lakes, coral reefs, local salt marshes, the Gulf of Maine, and the California nearshore system. Though these systems are geographically and environmentally disparate, the human factors in all of them are very similar; chiefly eutrophication, species introduction, overexploitation, and xenobiotics. Several of our projects have a modeling component, and virtually all of them utilize imaging techniques of some sort.



In the Biosphere2 Oceanarium we are using live video to monitor the interaction between fish and corals in that system. Visitors are able to have a live look at our work in the B2 oceanarium. Select "Biosphere2" from the Projects menu above.

In California we've compiled an extensive bibliography of web and library based resources on the nearshore system of California. In addition, we've begun to study ecosystem indicators of functional diversity and disturbance. Select "California" from the Projects menu above.

To learn more about the lab members and their current projects, please choose a link below.


  Dr. Les Kaufman  
  Dr. Jesse Schwartz  
  William Ojwang  
  Lisa Bonacci  
  Kristin Marshall