Division of Fishes

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Division of Fishes
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Division of Fishes
Museum of Southwestern Biology
CERIA Building 83 Room 204
302 Yale Blvd NE
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131


Stephen T. Ross

Stephen T. Ross

Curator Emeritus of Fishes 
Museum of Southwestern Biology

Adjunct Professor of Biology 
University of New Mexico

Professor Emeritus 
University of Southern Mississippi

Ph.D. 1974 - University of South Florida                                                                        

Research Interests

I am primarily interested in ecological and evolutionary relat­ionships of fishes. During my 30-year career at the University of Southern Mississippi my work focused primarily on fishes occurring in two different systems: 1) the near-shore region of the central Gulf of Mexico, especially the high-energy beaches along barrier islands; and 2) the diverse freshwater fish fauna of Mississippi. Our studies of these systems included the impacts of biotic and abiotic factors on the persistence and stability of fish assemblages; ecological responses of fishes to altered environments; reproductive biology and habitat use, especially as related to conservation; and the behavior and ecology of anadromous fishes, especially sturgeon (Acipenseridae). 

My work at MSB includes studies of the growth and ecology of the Roundtail Chub (Gila robusta) in the Yampa River, Colorado, in relation to the hydrologic regime. In addition, I am involved in more synthetic works, including a textbook to be published by University of California Press entitled, "Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes."



Ross, S.T.  2013. Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes. University of California Press, Oakland. 480 p.

Ross, S. T. 2001. The Inland Fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson. 624 p.

Refereed Chapters in Books

Ross, S. T. and W. J. Matthews.  2014.  Chapter 1. Evolution and ecology of North American freshwater fish assemblages.  In: North American Freshwater Fishes: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.  M. L. Warren, Jr. and B. M. Burr (eds.).  Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ross, S. T. In press.  Native fishes. In: Mississippi Encyclopedia. C. R. Wilson (ed). University Press of Mississippi.

Ross, S. T. and W. J. Matthews.  In review.  Evolution and ecology of North American freshwater fish assemblages.  In: North American Freshwater Fishes: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.  R. L. Mayden and B. M. Burr (eds.).  Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ross, S. T., and W. M. Brenneman.  1997.  Fish collectors and collections of the inland fishes of Mississippi, p. 479-485. In: T. W. Pietsch and W. D. Anderson (eds.).  Collection building in ichthyology and herpetology.  Special Publication Number 3, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.   Lawrence, Kansas.

Ross, S. T.  1990.  Ecology of southeastern stream fishes: Geographical, macro- and micro-habitat considerations, p. 11-13. In: M. Bain (ed.), Ecology and assessment of warmwater streams: workshop synopsis.  U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biol. Rep. 90(5). 44 p

Ross,  S. T., J. A. Baker, and K. E. Clark.  1987. Microhabitat partitioning of southeastern stream fishes: Temporal and spatial predictability.  In: Matthews, W. J. and D. C. Heins (eds.).  Symposium on the Evolutionary and Community Ecology of North American Stream Fishes.  University of Oklahoma Press, p. 4251.

Ross, S. T.  1984.  A review of surf zone ichthyofaunas in the Gulf of Mexico, p. 2534. In: Cofer-Shabica (ed.), Proceedings of the Research Conference on Northern Gulf of Mexico Barrier Islands and Estuaries.  U. S. Nat. Park Service.

Research Papers

Ross, S T., W. T. Slack, R. J. Heise, M. A. Dugo, H. Rogillio, B. R. Bowen, P. Mickle, and R. W. Heard. 2008. Estuarine and coastal habitat use of Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) in the north-central Gulf of Mexico. Accepted for publication in Estuaries and Coasts.

Peterson, M. S., M. R. Weber, M. L. Partyka, and S. T. Ross. 2007. Integrating in situ quantitative geographic information tools and size-specific laboratory-based growth zones in a dynamic river-mouth estuary. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 17:602-618.

Heise, R. J., W. T. Slack, S. T. Ross, and M. A. Dugo.  2005.  Gulf sturgeon summer habitat use and fall migration in the Pascagoula River, Mississippi.  Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21:461-468.

Dugo, M. A., B. R. Kreiser, S. T. Ross, W. T. Slack, R. J. Heise, and B. R. Bowen.  2004. Conservation and management implications of finescale genetic structure of Gulf sturgeon in the Pascagoula River, Mississippi.  Journal of Applied Ichthyology 20:243-251.

Slack, W. T., S. T. Ross, and J. A. Ewing, III.  2004. Ecology and population structure of the bayou darter, Etheostoma rubrum: disjunct riffle habitats and downstream transport of larvae.  Environmental Biology of Fishes 71:151-164.

Heise, R. J., W. T. Slack, S. T. Ross, and M. A. Dugo.  2004.  Spawning and associated movement patterns of Gulf sturgeon in the Pascagoula River drainage, Mississippi.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133:221-230.

Schofield, P., and S. T. Ross.  2003.  Habitat selection of the channel darter, Percina (Cottogastercopelandi: a surrogate for the imperiled pearl darter, Percina aurora.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 18:249-257.

Ross, S. T., M. T. O'Connell, D. M. Patrick, C. A. Latorre, W. T. Slack, J. G. Knight, and S. D.  Wilkins.  2001.  Stream erosion and densities of Etheostoma rubrum (Percidae) and associated riffle-inhabiting fishes- biotic stability in a variable habitat.  Copeia 2001(4): 916-927.

Warren, M. L., Jr., B. M. Burr, S. J. Walsh, H. L. Bart, Jr., R. C. Cashner, D. A. Etnier, B. J. Freeman, B. R. Kuhajda, R. L. Mayden, H. W. Robison, S. T. Ross, and W. C. Starnes.  2000.  Diversity, distribution, and conservation status of the native freshwater fishes of the Southeastern United States.  Fisheries 25:7-31.

O’Connell, M. T., S. T. Ross, J. A. Ewing, III, and W. T. Slack.  1998.  Distribution and habitat affinities of the blackmouth shiner (Notropis melanostomus) in Mississippi, including eight newly discovered localities in the upper Pascagoula River drainage.  Proceedings SE Fishes Council 36:1-6.

W. T. Slack, M. T. O’Connell, T. L. Peterson, J. A. Ewing, III, and S. T. Ross. 1997.  Ichthyofaunal and habitat associations of disjunct populations of southern redbelly dace, Phoxinus erythrogaster (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in Mississippi. American Midland Naturalist 137:251-265.

W. T. Slack, M. T. O’Connell, T. L. Peterson, J. A. Ewing, III, and S. T. Ross. 1995.  Status of the southern redbelly dace,Phoxinus erythrogaster, in Hatcher Bayou and streams of the Yazoo drainage, Mississippi.  Proceedings SE Fishes Council 32:1-11.

Knight, J. G., and S. T. Ross. 1994. Feeding habits of the bayou darter.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:794-802.

Ross, S. T., and T. A. Doherty. 1994.  Short-term persistence and stability of barrier island fish assemblages.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 38:49-67.

Ross, S. T., and S. D. Wilkins. 1993.  Reproductive behavior and larval characteristics of the threatened bayou darter (Etheostoma rubrum) in Mississippi.  Copeia 1993:1127-1132.

Beckett, D. C., B. J. Viskup, and S. T. Ross. 1992.  Occurrence of Lepomis spp. (Centrarchidae) in Horn Island ponds. Northeast Gulf Science 12:129-133.

Ross, S. T., D. C. Heins, and J. W. Burris. 1992. Fishes of Okatoma Creek, a free-flowing stream in South-Central Mississippi.  Proceedings SE Fishes Council 26:2-10.

Knight, J. G., and S. T. Ross. 1992.  Reproduction, age and growth of the bayou darter, Etheostoma rubrum (Pisces, Percidae); an endemic of Bayou Pierre.  American Midland Naturalist 127:91-105.

Ross, S. T., J. G. Knight, and D. S. Wilkins. 1992.  Distribution and microhabitat dynamics of the threatened bayou darter,Etheostoma rubrum.  Copeia 1992:658-671.

Peterson, M. S., and S. T. Ross. 1991.  Dynamics of littoral fishes and decapods along a coastal river-estuarine gradient. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 33:467-483.

Patrick, D. M., J. Mao, and S. T. Ross. 1991.  Accelerated erosion in the Bayou Pierre Basin, southwest Mississippi: Characterization and causes, p. 36-44.  In: Proceedings Mississippi Water Resources Conference, B. J. Daniel (ed.). 26-27 March 1991, Jackson, Mississippi.  Water Resources Research Inst., Mississippi State, MS.

Ross, S. T.  1991.  Mechanisms structuring stream fish assemblages- Are there lessons from introduced species? Environmental Biology of Fishes 30:359-368.

Ross, S. T., J. Knight, and D. Wilkins. 1990.  Longitudinal occurrence of the bayou darter (Percidae: Etheostoma rubrum) in Bayou Pierre a response to stream order or habitat availability? Polish Archives in Hydrobiology 37(1-2):221-233.

Peterson, M. S., and S. T. Ross. 1987.  Morphometric and meristic characteristics of a peripheral population of Enneacanthus.  Proceedings SE Fishes Council 17:14.

McMichael, R. H. Jr., and S. T. Ross. 1987.  Ecological relationships of three species of kingfish in a surf zone habitat. Northeast Gulf Science 9:109-123.

Ross, S. T., R. H. McMichael, Jr., and D. Ruple. 1987.  Seasonal and diel variation in the standing crop of fishes and macroinvertebrates from a Gulf of Mexico surf zone.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 25:391-412.

Ross, S. T. 1986.  Resource partitioning in fish assemblages: A review of field studies.  Copeia 1986:352-388.

Ross, S. T., W. J. Matthews, and A. A. Echelle. 1985.  Persistence in stream fish assemblages: The effects of environmental change.  American Naturalist 126:24-40.

Modde, T. C., and S. T. Ross. 1983.  Trophic relationships of fishes occurring within a surf zone habitat in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Northeast Gulf Science 6:109-120.

Ross, S. T., and J. A. Baker. 1983.  The response of fishes to periodic spring floods in a southeastern stream.  American Midland Naturalist 109:1-14.

Ross, S. T. 1983. Searobins (Pisces: Triglidae).  Memoirs of the Hourglass Cruises.  Florida Department of Natural Resources Vol. I, Pt. 4, 76 p.

Modde, T. C., and S. T. Ross. 1981.  Composition and seasonality of fishes occupying a surf zone habitat in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Fishery Bulletin 78:911-922.

Baker, J. A., and S. T. Ross. 1981.  Spatial and temporal resource utilization by southeastern cyprinids.  Copeia 1981:178-189.

Ross, S. T. 1980.  Sexual and developmental changes in swimbladder size of the leopard searobin, Prionotus scitulus(Pisces: Triglidae).  Copeia 1980:611-615.

Ross, S. T. 1978.  The ontogeny of feeding ecology of the Leopard Searobin, Prionotus scitulus (Pisces: Triglidae). U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Fishery Bulletin 76:225-234.

Ross, S. T. 1977.  Patterns of resource partitioning in searobins (Pisces: Triglidae).  Copeia 1977:561-571.

Ross, S. T. 1973.  The systematics of Gasterosteus aculeatus (Pisces: Gasterosteidae) in central and southern California. Los Angeles County Museum, Contributions in Science No. 243, 20 p.

Greenfield, D. W., S. T. Ross, and G. W. Deckert. 1970.  Some aspects of the life history of the Santa Ana sucker,Catostomus (Pantosteussantaanae (Snyder).  Calif. Fish and Game 53:166-179.

Greenfield, D. W., D. A. Hensley, J. W. Wiley, and S. T. Ross. 1970.  The fishes of the Isla Jaltemba coral formation and their zoogeographical significance.  Copeia 1970:180-181.