Brian Fisher

  • Curator
  • Entomology
  • PhD

My research objectives:

1. Explore mechanisms driving the accumulation of restricted-range species at regional and local levels in the southwest Indian Ocean. 

2. Apply knowledge on the origin and radiation of arthropods across the southwest Indian Ocean to inform and aid conservation planning for the region; specifically examine the evolution of ants in the context of a changing climate and relate results from historical climate driven shifts in diversity and distributions in the region to the projected changes in climate over the next century.

3. Build an online infrastructure for ant knowledge:  AntWeb

 

Current Research questions:

1. What role has isolation, geographic placement, geological history, and environmental heterogeneity played in structuring patters of endemic species in the southwest Indian Ocean.

2. What is the origin of the ant fauna of Madagascar?  Did the major lineages disperse from Africa or Asia? How many colonization events occurred from Africa to the SWIO islands for each genus? Did the Comoros Islands serve as stepping stones in this dispersal? Was there any backward movement from Madagascar to the African mainland or to other SWIO islands? What was the timeframe for these dispersal events?

3. Does a phylogenetic analysis of ant diversity patterns in Madagascar identify the same conservation priority areas as an analysis based on taxonomic (species) diversity?

 

Ph.D., Entomology, University of California, Davis (1997)
M.S., Biology, University of Utah (1992)
B.A., Biology (Honors), University of Iowa (1988)

 

Current  adjunct appointments

University of California, Berkeley, Adjunct Faculty, 2004 to present

San Francisco State University, Department of Biology, Research Faculty 2000 to present

Fisher, B.L. & Zimmerman, J.K. (1988) Ant/orchid associations in the Barro Colorado National Monument, Panama. Lindleyana, 3,12-16.

 

Fisher, B.L., Sternberg, L.S.L. & Price, D. (1990) Variation in the use of orchid extrafloral nectar by ants. Oecologia, 83,263-266.

 

Davidson, D.W. & Fisher, B.L. (1991) Symbiosis of ants with Cecropia as a function of light regime. In Ant‑Plant Interactions. (eds. D.F. Cutler & C.R. Huxley), pp. 289-309. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Fisher, B.L., Howe, H.F. & Wright, J.S. (1991) Survival and growth of Virola surinamensis yearlings: water augmentation in gap and understory. Oecologia, 86, 292-297.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1992) Facultative ant association benefits a Neotropical orchid. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 8, 109-114.

 

Molofsky, J. & Fisher, B.L. (1993) Habitat and predation effects on seedling survival and growth in shade‑tolerant tropical trees. Ecology, 74, 261-265.

 

Fisher, B.L. & Fisher, R.L. (1994) Conservation, insects, and the classroom. The Science Teacher, 61, 22-23.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1995) Ant diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in eastern Madagascar. [Abstract] In Environmental change in Madagascar (eds. B.D. Patterson, S.M. Goodman & J.L. Sedlock), 19, 84-85. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1996) Ant diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale d’Andringitra, Madagascar. Fieldiana: Zoology, 85, 93-108. 


Fisher, B.L. (1996) Origins and affinities of the ant fauna of Madagascar. In Biogéographie de Madagascar (ed. W.L. Lourenço), pp. 457-465. Paris: Editions ORSTOM.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1997) A comparison of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) on serpentine and non-serpentine soils in northern California. Insectes Sociaux, 44, 23-33. 


Fisher, B.L. & Razafimandimby, S. (1997) Les fourmis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In Inventaire biologique Forêts de Vohibasia et d’Isoky-Vohimena (eds. O. Langrand & S.M. Goodman), pp. 104-109. Centre d’Information et de Documentation Scientifique et Technique and World Wide Fund for Nature, Antananarivo, Recherches pour le Développement, Série Sciences Biologiques, N°12.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1997) Biogeography and ecology of the ant fauna of Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History, 31, 269-302.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1998) Insect behavior and ecology in conservation: preserving functional species interactions. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 91, 155-158.

 

Fisher, B.L., Ratsirarson, H. & Razafimandimby, S. (1998) Les Fourmis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In Inventaire biologique de la Forêt Littorale de Tampolo (Fenoarivo Atsinaanana) (eds. J. Ratsirarson & S.M. Goodman), pp 107-131. Centre d’Information et de Documentation Scientifique et Technique, Antananarivo, Recherches pour le Développement, Série Sciences Biologiques, N° 14.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1998) Ant diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the Réserve Spéciale d’Anjanaharibe-Sud and on the western Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar. Fieldiana: Zoology, 90, 39-67. 


Fisher, B.L. & Robertson, H.G. (1999) Silk production by adult workers of the ant Melissotarsus emeryi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in South African fynbos. Insectes Sociaux, 46, 78-83.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1999) Improving inventory efficiency: a case study of leaf litter ant diversity in Madagascar. Ecological Applications, 9, 714-731.

 

Fisher, B.L. (1999) Ant diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale d’Andohahela, Madagascar. Fieldiana: Zoology,  94, 129-147.


Fisher, B.L. (2000) Ant inventories along elevational gradients in tropical wet forests in Eastern Madagascar. In Sampling Ground-dwelling Ants: Case Studies from the Worlds’ Rain Forests (eds. D. Agosti., J.D. Majer, L. Alonso & T. Schultz), pp. 41-49. Curtin University School of Environmental Biology Bulletin N°. 18. Perth, Australia.

 

Fisher, B.L. (2000) The Malagasy fauna of Strumigenys. In The ant tribe Dacetini (ed. B. Bolton), pp. 612-710. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 65, 1-1028.

 

Fisher, B.L. & Girman, D.J. (2000) Biogeography of ants in eastern Madagascar. In Diversity and Endemism in Madagascar (eds. W.R. Lourenço & S.M.Goodman), pp. 331-344. Paris: Mémoires de la Société de Biogéographie.

 

Fisher, B.L., Malsch, A.K.F., Gadagkar, R., Delabie, J.H.C., Vasconcelos, H.L. & Majer, J.D. (2000) Applying the ALL Protocol: Selected Case Studies. In Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity (eds. D. Agosti, J.D. Majer, L. Alonso & T. Schultz), pp. 207-214. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

 

Delabie, J.H., Fisher, B.L., Majer, J. & Wright, I.W. (2000) Sampling Effort and Choice of Methods. In Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity (eds. D. Agosti, J.D. Majer, L.E. Alonso & T.R. Schultz), pp. 145-154. Washington D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Fisher, B.L. & Robertson, H. (2002) Comparison and origin of forest and grassland ant assemblages in the high plateau of Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biotropica, 34, 155-167.

 

Vences, M., Glaw, F. & Fisher, B.L. (2002) Notes on the Distribution of Dyscophus insularis (Anura: Microhylidae). Herpetological Review, 33,18-19.

 

Fisher, B.L. (2002) Ant diversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the Réserve Spéciale de Manongarivo, Madagascar. Boissiera, 59, 311-328.

 

Fisher, B.L. (2003) Ants (Formicidae: Hymenoptera). In The natural history of Madagascar. (eds. S.M. Goodman & J.P. Benstead), pp. 811-819. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Fisher, B.L. (ed.) (2004) Monts Doudou, Gabon: A Floral and Faunal Inventory with reference to elevational variation, 295 pp. California Academy of Sciences, Memoirs 28. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.

 

Fisher, B.L. (2004) Diversity patterns of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along an elevational gradient on Monts Doudou in southwestern Gabon. In Monts Doudou, Gabon: A Floral and Faunal Inventory with reference to elevational variation, pp 269-286. California Academy of Sciences, Memoirs 28. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.

 

Thibault, M., Fisher, B.L. & Goodman, S.M. (2004) Description of Monts Doudou, Gabon, and the 2000 biological inventory of the reserve. In Monts Doudou, Gabon: A Floral and Faunal Inventory with reference to elevational variation, pp 3-15. California Academy of Sciences, Memoirs 28. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.

 

Saux, C., Fisher, B. & Spicer, G.S. (2004) Dracula ant phylogeny as inferred by nuclear 28S rDNA sequences and implications for ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Amblyoponinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 33, 457-468.

 

Simon, F., Powell, G.V.N., Richardson, K.S., Manion, G., Overton, J.M., Allnutt, T.F., Cameron, S.E., Mantle, K., Burgess, N.D., Faith, D.P., Lamoreux, J.F., Kier, G., Hijmans, R.J., Funk, V.A., Cassis, G.A., Fisher, B.L., Flemons, P., Lees, D., Lovett, J.C. & Van Rompaey. R.S.A.R. (2004) Mapping More of Terrestrial Biodiversity for Global Conservation Assessment. BioScience, 54, 1101-1109.

 

Fisher, B.L. (2005) A Model for a Global Inventory of Ants: A Case Study in Madagascar. In Biodiversity: A Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the California Academy of Sciences June 17-18, 2003 (ed. N.G. Jablonski), Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 56, 78-89.  published 3 June 2005

 

Clark, V.C., Raxworthy, C. J., Rakotomalala, V., Sierwald, P. & Fisher, B.L. (2005) Convergent evolution of chemical defense in poison frogs and arthropod prey between Madagascar and the Neotropics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102, 11617-11622. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0503502102 published 8 August 2005

 

Smith, M.A., Fisher, B.L. & Hebert, P.D.N. (2005) DNA Barcoding for effective biodiversity assessment of a hyperdiverse arthropod group: the ants of Madagascar. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences, 360(1462), 1825-1834. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2005.1714. published online 8 September 2005.

 

Ward, P.S., Brady, S.G., Fisher, B.L. & Schultz, T.R. (2005) Assembling the ant “Tree of Life” (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecologische Nachrichten, 7, 87-90. Published September 2005

 

Lapolla, J.S. & Fisher, B.L. (2005) A Remarkable New Species of Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Gabon, with a Key to the Afrotropical Species. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 56(30), 601-605. published 30 December 2005

 

Fisher, B.L. (2005) A new species of Discothyrea Roger from Mauritius and a new species of Proceratium from Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 56, 657-667. published 30 December 2005

 

Ouellette, G.D., Fisher, B.L. & Girman, D. (2006) Molecular systematics of basal subfamilies of ants using 28S rDNA (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 40, 359-369. published 21 April 2006

 

Patek, S.N., Baio, J.E., Fisher, B.L. & Suarez, A.V. (2006) Multifunctionality and mechanical origins: Ballistic jaw propulsion in trap-jaw ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 12787-12792. 10.1073/pnas.0604290103. published 22 August 2006

 

Clark, V.C., Rakotomalala, V., Ramilijaona, O., Abrell, L. & Fisher, B.L. (2006) Individual variation in alkaloid content of poison frogs of Madagascar (Mantella; Mantellidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32, 2219-2233. doi 10.1007/s10886-006-9144-6.  published 30 September 2006

 

Fisher, B.L. (2006) Boloponera vicans gen.n. and sp.n. and two new species of the Plectroctena genus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecologische Nachrichten, 8, 111-118. published Sept 2006

 

Underwood, E.C. & Fisher, B.L. (2006) The role of ants in conservation monitoring: If, when, and how. Biological Conservation, 132, 166-182. published October 2006

 

Brady, S.G., Fisher, B.L., Schultz, T.R. & Ward, P.S. (2006) Evaluating alternative hypotheses for the early evolution and diversification of ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 18172-18177. 10.1073/pnas.0605858103. published 28 November 2006

 

Lourenço, W.R., Goodman, S.M. & Fisher, B.L. (2006) A reappraisal of the geographical distribution of the endemic family Microcharmidae Lourenço (Scorpiones) in Madagascar and description of eight new species and subspecies. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 57, 751-783. published 28 December 2006

 

Fisher, B.L. & Bolton, B. (2007) The ant genus Pseudaphomomyrmex Wheeler, 1920 a junior synonym of Tapinoma Foerster, 1850. Zootaxa, 1427, 65-68.  published 19 Mar 2007

 

Molet, M., Peeters, C. & Fisher, B.L. (2007) Winged queens replaced by reproductives smaller than workers in Mystrium ants. Naturwissenschaften, 94, 280-287. doi 10.1007/s00114-006-0190-2. published April 2007

 

Molet, M., Peeters, C. & Fisher, B.L. (2007) Permanent loss of wings in queens of the ant Odontomachus coquereli from Madagascar. Insectes Sociaux, 54, 183-188. doi 10.1007/s00040-007-0930-0. published May 2007

 

Fisher, B.L. (2007) A new species of Probolomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Madagascar. In Advances In Ant Systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage To E. O. Wilson – 50 Years Of Contributions. (eds. R.R. Snelling, B.L. Fisher & P.S. Ward), Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 80, 146-152. published July 2007

 

Snelling, R.R., Fisher, B.L. & Ward, P.S. (eds.) (2007) Advances In Ant Systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage To E. O. Wilson – 50 Years Of Contributions. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 80, 1-670. published July 2007

 

Molet, M., Peeters, C., Follin, I. & Fisher, B.L. (2007) Reproductive Caste Performs Intranidal Tasks Instead of Workers in the Ant Mystrium oberthueri. Ethology, 113, 721-729. published July 2007

 

Dunn, R.R., Sanders, N.J., Fitzpatrick, M.C., Laurent, E., Lessard, J.P., Agosti, D., Andersen, A.N., Bruhl, C., Cerda, X., Ellison, A.M., Fisher, B.L., Gibb, H., Gotelli, N.J., Gove, A., Guenard, B., Janda, M., Kaspari, M., Longino, J.T., Majer, J., Mcglynn, T.P., Menke, S.B., Parr, C.L., Philpott, S.M., Pfeiffer, M., Retana, J., Suarez, A.V. & Vasconcelos, H.L. (2007) Global ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) biodiversity and biogeography – a new database and its possibilities. Myrmecological News, 10, 77-83. published Sept 2007

 

Woodhead, C., Vences, M., Vieites, D., Gamboni, I., Fisher, B.L. & Griffiths, R.A. (2007) Specialist or generalist? Feeding ecology of the Malagasy poison frog Mantella aurantiaca. Herpetological Journal, 17, 225-236. published Oct 2007

 

Fisher, B.L. & Cover, S.P. (2007) Ants of North America: A guide to the Genera, pp 308. Berkeley: University of California Press. Published Nov 2007

Mony, R., Fisher, B.L., Kenne, M., Tindo, M. & Dejean, A. (2007) Behavioural Ecology of Bark-digging Ants of the Genus Melissotarsus. Functional Ecosystems and Communities, 2, 121-128. published  Dec 2007

 

Yoshimura, M. & Fisher, B.L. (2007) A revision of male ants of the Malagasy region (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Key to subfamilies and treatment of the genera of Ponerinae. Zootaxa, 1654, 21-40. published 5 Dec. 2007

 

Yanoviak, S.P., Fisher, B.L. & Alonso, A. (2007) Arboreal ant diversity (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a central African forest. African Journal of Ecology, 46, 60-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00810.x. published March 2008

 

Yanoviak, S.P., Fisher, B.L. & Alonso, A. (2008) Directed Aerial Descent Behavior in African Canopy Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 21, 164-171. doi 10.1007/s10905-008-9116-5. Published 20 March 2008

 

Kremen, C., Cameron, A., Moilanen, A., Phillips, S.J., Thomas, C.D., Beentje, H., Dransfield, J., Fisher, B.L., Glaw, F., Good, T.C., Harper, G.J., Hijmans, R.J., Lees, D.C., Louis, Jr., E., Nussbaum, R.A., Raxworthy, C.J., Razafimpahanana, A., Schatz, G.E., Vences, M., Vieites, D.R., Wright, P.C. & Zjhra, M.L. (2008) Aligning Conservation Priorities Across Taxa in Madagascar with High-Resolution Planning Tools. Science, 320, 222-226. published 11 April 2008

 

Fisher, B.L. & Smith, M.A. (2008) A Revision of Malagasy Species of Anochetus Mayr and Odontomachus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). PLoS ONE, 3(5), e1787. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001787. Published 28 May 2008

 

Fisher, B.L. (2008) Les fourmis. In Paysages naturels et biodiversité de Madagascar (ed. S.M. Goodman), pp. 249-271. Paris: Museum National de Histoire Naturelle. published 1 May 2008

 

Fisher, B.L & Penny, N. (2008) Les arthropodes. In Histoire Naturelle de Madagascar (ed. S.M. Goodman), pp. 183-212. Paris: Museum National de Histoire Naturelle. published 1 May 2008

 

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. (2008) The Afrotropical ponerine ant genus Asphinctopone Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1827, 53-61. published 23 Jul. 2008

 

Clark, K., Fisher, B.L. & LeBuhn, G. (2008) The influence of urban park characteristics on ant (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) communities. Urban Ecosystems, 11, 317-334. published 29 July 2008

 

Allnutt, T.F, Ferrier, S., Manion, G., Powell, G.V.N.,. Ricketts, T.H., Fisher, B.L., Harper  G.J., Irwin, M.E., Kremen, C., Labat, J-N., Lee, D.C., Pearce, T.A., & Rakotondrainibe, F. (2008) A method for quantifying biodiversity loss and its application to a 50-year record of deforestation across Madagascar. Conservation Letters, 1, 173-181.  published 22 Aug 2008

 

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. (2008) The Afrotropical ponerine ant genus Phrynoponera Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1892, 35–52. published 6 Oct. 2008

 

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. (2008) Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1929, 1–37. published 10 Nov. 2008

 

Dunn, R.R., N.J. Sanders, S.B. Menke, M.D. Weiser, M.C. Fitzpatrick, E. Laurent, J.-P. Lessard, D. Agosti, A. Andersen, C. Bruhl, X. Cerda, A. Ellison, B. L. Fisher, H. Gibb, N. Gotelli, A. Gove, B. Guénard, M. Janda, M. Kaspari, J.T. Longino, J. Majer, T.P. McGlynn, S.B. Menke, C. Parr, S. Philpott, M. Pfeiffer, J. Retana, A. Suarez, H. Vasconcelos. (2009). Climatic Drivers of Hemispheric Asymmetry in Global Patterns of Ant Species Richness. Ecology Letters, 12, 324–333. published 10 Mar 2009

 

Fisher, B. L. (2009). Two new dolichoderine ant genera from Madagascar: Aptinoma gen. n. and Ravavy gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2118, 37-52. published 27 May 2009

 

Fisher, B.L. (2009). Ants. In The Encyclopedia of Islands (eds R. Gillespie and D. Clague) University of California Press, Berkeley. published August 2009

Yoshimura, M. & Fisher, B.L. A revision of male ants of the Malagasy region (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Key to genera of the subfamily Proceratiinae. Zootaxa 2216, 1–21. published 31 Aug 2009

 

Molet, M., Fisher, B.L., Ito, F. & Peeters, C. (2009). Shift from independent to dependent colony foundation and evolution of ‘multi-purpose’ ergatoid queens in Mystrium ants (subfamily Amblyoponinae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 98, 198-207. published 2 Sept 2009

 

Lapolla, J.S., Cheng, C.H. & Fisher, B.L. (2009) Taxonomic Revision of the Ant Genus Paraparatrechina in the Afrotropical and Malagasy Regions. Zootaxa (in press)

 

Fisher, B. L. (2009) Biogeography. In Ant Ecology (eds L. Lach C. Parr & K. Abbot) Oxford University Press, Oxford (in press)

 

Ward, P.S., Brady, S.G., Fisher, B.L. & Schultz, T.R. (2009). Phylogeny and Biogeography of Dolichoderine Ants: Effects of Data Partitioning and Relict Taxa on Historical Inference. Systematic Biology (in press).

 

Popular Publications

  1. Fisher, B.L. (2002) Escape from Ant Paradise. California Wild, Winter issue.
  2. Fisher, B.L. (2003) For the love of Ants. California Wild, Winter issue.
  3. Fisher, B.L. (2003) Why Inventory?, California Wild, Winter issue.
  4. Fisher, B.L. (2005) Attack on the Army Ants. California Wild, Winter issue.
  5. Fisher, B.L. (2006) DNA Barcoding Tomorrow Is Too Late. California Wild, Winter issue.
  6. Fisher, B.L. (2007) The island in the sky. Austral, November.
  7. Fisher, B.L. (2007) Save an Ant, Save a Planet. Published via the Blurb publishing platform. pp. 160. published 4 Oct 2007

Contact

  • Brian Fisher
  • Curator
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118

Help Save Madagascar

Dr. Brian Fisher is on a quest to discover the role ants play in the wildest, least explored part of Madagascar -- the Tsaratanana Massif. Your gift of $10 or more will go toward the $10,000 needed to explore this remote mountain wilderness in order to gain vital knowledge to help protect and save the natural world.

Scientist at Work, New York Times

It's hard enough to find a slow loris in the forests of Vietnam--so addressing the complex threats to the species is all the harder.
On the last day on the river, signs of both hope and despair are found, proving that there's still time for the Mekong River. But not much.
A researcher and his family watched as pairs of Irrawaddy dolphins breached and frolicked, their whimsical play in sharp contrast to the species' grim reality.
The harvest from Tonle Sap had almost doubled between 1940 and 1995, while the number of people fishing has quadrupled during that period, cutting the per-fisher catch in half.
Slow lorises in the deep dark of the Vietnamese forest are probably wise to avoid the scientist who wanders by with a flashlight and a notebook. There are other humans about with less noble intentions.
Sometimes a lot of light at night does not illuminate. When you're looking for slow lorises in the forests of Vietnam, a full moon is not a good sign.