- PhD, Duke University, 1995
- BS, University of Central Florida, 1986
John Friel has worked in natural history museums for over 30 years, and has extensive experience in collections-based research, collections management, citizen-science programs, exhibit planning, fundraising, grant writing, and museum administration. He is currently the Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, as well as the Program Advisor & Internship Coordinator for the University of Alabama’s Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies.
Prior to joining the University of Alabama in 2015, he was the Curator of Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, and a Senior Research Associate in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. While there he conducted field and collection-based research on South American and African freshwater fishes to help document the biodiversity of tropical river systems. His research specialties are catfishes of the families Aspredinidae (South American banjo catfishes) and Mochokidae (African squeakers and suckermouth catfishes).
J.P. Friel & T.P. Carvalho. 2018. Family Aspredinidae – Banjo Catfishes. In van der Sleen, P. and Albert, J.S. (eds.). Field Guide to the Fishes of the Amazon, Orinoco & Guianas. Princeton University Press, pp. 202–207.
R.C. Schmidt, H.L. Bart Jr., F. Pezold & J.P. Friel. 2017. A biodiversity hotspot heats up: nine new species of suckermouth catfishes (Mochokidae: Chiloglanis) from Upper Guinean Forest streams in West Africa. Copeia, 105(2):301-338.
J.J. Day, A. Fages, K.J. Brown, E.J. Vreven, M.L.J. Stiassny. R. Bills, J.P. Friel & L. Rüber. 2017. Multiple independent colonizations into the Congo Basin during the continental radiation of African Mastacembelus spiny-eels. Journal of Biogeography 44(6):1-11.
T.P. Carvalho, R.E. Reis & J.P. Friel. 2017. A new species of the banjo catfish genus Hoplomyzon Myers (Siluriformes: Aspredinidae) from Lake Maracaibo tributaries, Venezuela: Osteological description using high-resolution computed microtomography of a miniature species. Neotropical Ichthyology, 15(1): e160143.
T.P. Carvalho, J.G. Lundberg, J.N. Baskin, J.P. Friel & R.E. Reis. 2016. A new species of the blind and miniature genus Micromyzon Friel and Lundberg, 1996 (Silurifomes: Aspredinidae) from the Orinoco River: describing catfish diversity using high-resolution computed tomography. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 165: 37-53.
J.P. Friel & T.P. Carvalho. 2016. A new species of Amaralia Fowler (Siluriformes: Aspredinidae) from the Paraná-Paraguay River Basin.Zootaxa 4088(4): 531–546.
T.P. Carvalho, A.R. Cardoso, J.P. Friel & R.E. Reis.. 2015. Two new species of the banjo catfish Bunocephalus Kner (Siluriformes: Aspredinidae) from the upper rio São Francisco basin, Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology, 13(3): 499-512.
C.H. Martin, J.S. Cutler, J.P. Friel, C.T. Dening, G. Coop & P.C. Wainwright. 2015. Complex histories of repeated gene flow in Cameroon crater lake cichlids cast doubt on one of the clearest examples of sympatric speciation. Evolution, 69(6):1406–1422.
Selected Websites (Biodiversity & Citizen Science Projects)
- Biodiversity of Alabama
- University of Alabama Campus Biodiversity Survey
- University of Alabama Arboretum Biodiversity Survey
- City Nature Challenge 2019: Birmingham Metro Area
- Biodiversidad de Guatemala
- Africhthy – African ichthyology portal
- Tree of Life page for Aspredinid Catfishes
- Tree of Life page for Mochokid Catfishes
Selected Media Appearances
- 2019: WVUA23 Segment discussing Bama Bug Fest event
- 2019: Tuscaloosa News “Bama Bug Fest will feature variety of creepy-crawlies”
- 2018: Tuscaloosa News “The Night of the Moths: Hundreds attend Tuscaloosa’s MothFest”
- 2017: Tuscaloosa News “UA Museums event catalogs biological diversity”
- 2016: Tuscaloosa News “Project creates citizen scientists”
- 2015: Tuscaloosa News “New director takes the helm at Alabama Museum of Natural History”