Hawaii Biological Survey Staff


Richard L. Pyle, Ph.D.

Senior curator of Ichthyology, Director of XCoRE

phone: 808-848-4115
fax: 808-847-8252
email: deepreef[at]bishopmuseum.org

    Photo credit: Luiz A. Rocha


  • Ph.D., Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.
  • B.S., Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.

Research Interests

  • Evolutionary biology of marine fishes, with particular emphasis on systematics, biogeography, hybridization, and mimicry.
  • Exploration of deep coral reefs (Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems) using advanced diving technology.
  • Design and development of computer database systems and international data standards for biodiversity information.

Field Work and Museum Studies

  • Survey and exploratory work throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Deep-reef exploration in the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Guam, Palau, Pohnpei, Fiji, American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Caroline Islands, Main Hawaiian Islands, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Line Islands, Cook Islands, Society Islands, South Africa, and elsewhere.


  • Collections Technician, Associate Zoologist, Database Coordinator, Senior Curator of Ichthyology, Director of XCoRE, Bishop Museum (1986-present).
  • Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant: University of Hawai‘i (1999-2002).
  • Student Aquarist: Waikiki Aquarium, (1985).

Selected Professional Service

  • Dive Safety Officer, Bishop Museum (2010-present)
  • Board of Editors, Indo-Pacific Fishes (2010-present)
  • Member, International Committee for Bionomenclature (2009-present)
  • Convener, Taxonomic Names and Concepts Group, Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) (2008-present)
  • Commissioner & Council Member, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2006-present)
  • Board Member, Chief Technology Officer (2003–2005), Chief Science Officer (2005–2014), Chief Technology Officer (2014–present), Association for Marine Exploration (AME)

Selected Publications

Over 200 publications including the following:

Wagner, D., A. M. Friedlander, R. L. Pyle, C. M. Brooks, K. M. Gjerde & T. ‘A. Wilhelm. 2020. Coral reefs of the high seas: hidden biodiversity hotspots in need of protection. Frontiers in Marine Science 7:567428.

Garnett, S. T., L. Christidis, S. Conix, M. J. Costello, F. E. Zachos, O. S. Bánki, Y. Bao, S. K. Barik, J. S. Buckeridge, D. Hobern, A. Lien, N. Montgomery, S. Nikolaeva, R. L. Pyle, S. A. Thomson, P. P. van Dijk, A. Whalen, Z.-Q. Zhang & K. R. Thiele. 2020. Principles for creating a single authoritative list of the world’s species. PLoS Biology 18(7):e3000736

Pyle, R. L. & J. M. Copus. 2019. Introduction and Overview. In: Loya, Yosi, Kimberly A. Puglise & Thomas C. L. Bridge (eds.) Mesophotic coral ecosystems. Springer, New York. 3–27.

Copus, J. M., R. L. Pyle, B. D. Greene & J. E. Randall. 2019. Prognathodes geminus, a new species of butterflyfish (Teleostei, Chaetodontidae) from Palau. ZooKeys 835:125.

Pyle, R. L., B. D. Greene, J. M. Copus & J. E. Randall. 2018. Tosanoides annepatrice, a new basslet from deep coral reefs in Micronesia (Perciformes, Percoidei, Serranidae). ZooKeys 786:139.

Pyle, R. L. 2016 Towards a Global Names Architecture: The future of indexing scientific names. In: Michel E (Ed.) Anchoring Biodiversity Information: From Sherborn to the 21st century and beyond. ZooKeys 550:261–281.

Pyle, R. L., R.K. Kosaki and B. D. Greene.  2016. Tosanoides obama, a new basslet (Perciformes, Percoidei, Serranidae) from deep coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. ZooKeys 641:165–181.

Pyle, R. L., Raymond Boland, Holly Bolick, Brian Bowen, Christina J. Bradley, Corrine Kane, Randall K. Kosaki, Ross Langston, Ken Longenecker, Anthony D. Montgomery, Frank A. Parrish, Brian N. Popp, John Rooney, Celia M. Smith, Daniel Wagner & Heather L. Spalding. 2016. A comprehensive investigation of mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Hawaiian Archipelago. PeerJ 4:e2475.

Pyle, R. L. and R. K. Kosaki 2016. Prognathodes basabei, a new species of butterflyfish (Perciformes, Chaetodontidae) from the Hawaiian Archipelago. ZooKeys 614:137-152.

Pyle, R.L., P. Lobel & Joseph Tomoleoni. 2016. The value of closed-circuit rebreathers for biological research. pp. 120–134 In: Pollock N.W., Sellers S.H., Godfrey J.M., (eds.) Rebreathers and Scientific Diving. Proceedings of NPS/NOAA/DAN/AAUS February 16–19, 2015 Workshop. Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island, CA; 2016; 272 pp.

Pyle, R.L. 2016. Rebreather evolution in the foreseeable future. pp. 40–65, In: Pollock N.W., Sellers S.H., Godfrey J.M., (eds.) Rebreathers and Scientific Diving. Proceedings of NPS/NOAA/DAN/AAUS February 16–19, 2015 Workshop. Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island, CA; 2016; 272 pp.

Kosaki R. K., R. L. Pyle, J. C. Leonard, B.B. Hauk, R. K.Whitton, and D. Wagner. 2016. 100% endemism in mesophotic reef fish assemblages at Kure Atoll, Hawaiian Islands. Marine Biodiversity. 2016:1-2.

Guralnick, Robert, Nico Cellinese, John Deck, Richard Pyle, John Kunze, Lyubomir Penev, Ramona Walls, Gregor Hagedorn, Donat Agosti, John Wieczorek, Terry Catapano, Roderic Page. 2015. Making Globally Unique Identifiers Work for Biocollections Data. ZooKeys. 494:133-154.

Copus, J. M., C. A. Ka‘apu-Lyons & R. L. Pyle. 2015 Luzonichthys seaver, a new species of Anthiinae from Pohnpei, Micronesia. Biodiversity Data Journal. 3:e4902

Copus, J. M., R. L. Pyle and J.L. Earle. 2015. Neoniphon pencei, a new species of holocentrid (Teleostei: Beryciformes) from Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Biodiversity Data Journal. 3:e4180.

Pyle, Richard L. 2014.  Toward a new era in recreational and technical rebreather diving. Pp. 173–184, In: Vann Richard D., Denoble Petar J. & Pollock Neal W. (eds.) Rebreather Forum 3 Proceedings. AAUS/DAN/PADI, Durham, NC, 324 pp.

Wagner, Daniel, Randall K. Kosaki, Heather Spalding, Robert K. Whitton, R.L. Pyle, Alison R. Sherwood, Roy T. Tsuda & Barbara Calcinai. 2014. Mesophotic surveys of the flora and fauna at Johnston Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean. Marine Biodiversity Records, 7:e68.

Gaither, Michelle R, Jennifer K. Schultz, David R. Bellwood, Richard L. Pyle, Joseph D. DiBattista, Luiz A. Rocha, Brian W. Bowen. 2014. Evolution of pygmy angelfishes: Recent divergences, introgression, and the usefulness of color in taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 74:38–47.

Pyle, R. L. & J. L. Earle. 2013 Xanthichthys greenei, a new species of triggerfish (Balistidae) from the Line Islands. Biodiversity Data Journal. 1:e994.

Miller, J., Dikow, T., Agosti, D., Sautter, G., Capatano, T., Penev, L., Zhang, Z.-Q., Pentcheff, D., Pyle, R., Blum, S., Parr., C., Freeland, C., Garnett, T., Ford, L.S., Muller, B., Smith, L., Strader, G., Georgiev, T., Bénichou, L. 2012. From taxonomic literature to cybertaxonomic content. BioMed Central Biology, 10:87.

Rosenberg, G., Krell, F.-T. & Pyle, R.L. 2012. Nomenclature: Call to register new species in ZooBank. Nature 491(7422):40.

DiBattista, Joseph D., Ellen Waldrop, Brian W. Bowen, Jennifer K. Schultz, Michelle R. Gaither, Richard L. Pyle & Luiz A. Rocha. 2012. Twisted sister species of pygmy angelfishes: discordance between taxonomy, coloration, and phylogenetics. Coral Reefs, 31:839–851.

Greuter, W. R., J. Garrity, D. L. Hawksworth, A. F. W. E. Jahn, P. Kirk, S. Knapp, J. McNeill, E. Michel, D. J. Patterson, R. L. Pyle & B. J. Tindall. 2011. Draft BioCode (2011): principles and rules regulating the naming of organisms. Bionomina 3:24–44.

Whitney, N., Pyle, R.L., Holland, K.N., Barcz, J.T. 2011. Movements, reproductive seasonality, and fisheries interactions in the whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) from community-contributed photographs. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 93(1):121–136.

Wagner, D., Papastamatiou, Y.P., Kosaki, R.K., Gleason., K.A., McFall, G.B., Boland, R.C., Pyle, R.L., & Toonen, R.J. 2011. New records of commercially valuable black corals (Cnidaria: Antipatharia) from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at mesophotic depths. Pacific Science, 65(2):249–255.

Mindell, D.P., B.L. Fisher, P. Roopnarine, J. Eisen, G.M. Mace, R.D.M. Page & R.L. Pyle, 2011. Aggregating, tagging and integrating biodiversity research. Public Library of Science ONE 6(8):e19491

Patterson, D.J., J. Cooper, P.M. Kirk, R.L. Pyle and D.P. Remsen. 2010. Names are key to the big new biology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1297:1-6.

Fricke, R., J.L. Earle, R.L. Pyle, and B. Séret. 2010. Checklist of the Fishes. pp. 383-409. In: Natural History of Santo (P. Bouchet, H. Le Guyader and O. Pascal, eds.), Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Marseille; Pro-Natura International, Paris. 572 pp.

Hinderstein, L.M., J.C.A. Marr, F.A. Martinez, M.J. Dowgiallo, K.A. Puglise, R.L. Pyle, D.G. Zawada & R. Appeldoorn. 2010. Theme section on "Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems: Characterization, Ecology, and Management". Coral Reefs. 29:247–251.

Penev, L., T. Erwin, F. C. Thompson, H.-D.r Sues, M. S. Engel, D. Agosti, R. Pyle, M. Ivie, T. Assmann, T. Henry, J. Miller, N. B. Ananjeva, A. Casale, W. Lourenço, S. Golovatch, H.-P. Fagerholm, S. Taiti, M. Alonso-Zarazaga, E. van Nieukerken. 2009. ZooKeys, unlocking Earth’s incredible biodiversity and building a sustainable bridge into the public domain: From “print-based” to “web-based” taxonomy, systematics, and natural history. ZooKeys Editorial Opening Paper. ZooKeys 1:1–7.

Pyle, R.L. & Michel, E. 2009. Unifying nomenclature: ZooBank and Global Names Usage Bank. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 66: 298.

Pyle, R.L. 2009. Pyle. pp. 191-198. In: Knapp, S. & Q. Wheeler (eds.). Letters to Linnaeus. Linnean Society of London, London. 336 pp.

Pyle, R.L. & E. Michel. 2008. ZooBank: Developing a nomenclatural tool for unifying 250 years of biological information. Pp. 39-50. In: Minelli, A., Bonato, L. & Fusco, G. (eds.) Updating the Linnaean Heritage: Names as Tools for Thinking about Animals and Plants. Zootaxa, 1950, 1–163.

Polaszek, A., R. Pyle & D. Yanega. 2008. Animal names for all: ICZN, ZooBank, and the New Taxonomy. pp. 129-142. In: Wheeler, Q.D. (Ed.). The New Taxonomy. CRC Press, Boca Raton. 237 pp.

Mitchel, S. J., R. Pyle & R. E. Moon. 2009. Therapy for decompression illness. Technical Diving. Pp. 178–201, In: Vann, R. D., Mitchell, S. J., Denoble, P. J. Anthony, T.G. (eds.). Technical Diving Conference Proceedings Divers Alert Network, Durham, NC. 394 pages.

Randall, J.E. & R.L. Pyle. 2008. Synodus orientalis, a new lizardfish (Aulopiformes: Synodontidae) from Japan and Taiwan, with correction of the Asian records of S. lobeli. Zoological Studies, 47(5):657–662.

Pyle, R.L., J.L. Earle & B.D. Greene. 2008. Five new species of the damselfish genus Chromis (Perciformes: Labroidei: Pomacentridae) from deep coral reefs in the tropical western Pacific. Zootaxa. 1671: 3–31.

Schultz, J.K., R.L. Pyle, E. DeMartini & B.W. Bowen. 2007. Genetic connectivity among color morphs and archipelagos for the flame angelfish, Centropyge loriculus. Marine Biology. 151:167–175.

Polaszek, A., D. Agosti, M. Alonso-Zarazaga, G. Beccaloni, P. de Place Bjørn, P. Bouchet, D.J. Brothers, Earl of Cranbrook, N. Evenhuis, H.C.J. Godfray, N.F. Johnson, F.-T. Krell, D. Lipscomb, C.H.C. Lyal, G.M. Mace, S. Mawatari, S.E. Miller, A. Minelli, S. Morris, P.K.L. Ng, D.J. Patterson, R.L. Pyle, N. Robinson, L. Rogo, J. Taverne, F.C. Thompson, J. van Tol, Q.D. Wheeler & E.O. Wilson. 2005. Commentary: A universal register for animal names. Nature. 437:477.

Polaszek, A., M. Alonso-Zarazaga, P. Bouchet, D.J. Brothers, N. Evenhuis, F.-T. Krell, C.H.C. Lyal, A. Minelli, R.L. Pyle, N.J. Robinson, F.C. Thompson, & J. van Tol. 2005. ZooBank: the open-access register for zoological taxonomy: Technical Discussion Paper. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 62(4):210-220.

Pyle, R.L. 2004. Taxonomer: a relational data model for managing information relevant to taxonomic research. Phyloinformatics, 1:1-54.

Pyle, R.L. 2003. A Biodiversity Crisis, pp. 98-99. In: Stephens, J. Living Mirrors: A Coral Reef Adventure. Umbrage Editions, New York. 144 pp.

Pyle, R.L. 2002. Chaetodontidae. pp. 3224-3265. In: Carpenter, K.E. and V.E. Niem (Eds.) Living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Volume 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. i-iv+2791-3379.

Pyle, R.L. 2002. Pomacanthidae. pp. 3266-3286. In: Carpenter, K.E. and V.E. Niem (Eds.) Living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Volume 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. i-iv+2791-3379.

Parrish, F.A. and R.L. Pyle. 2002. Field comparison of open-circuit scuba to closed-circuit rebreathers for deep mixed-gas diving operations. Marine Technology Society Journal. 36(2):13-22.

Randall, J.E. and R.L. Pyle. 2001. Four new serranid fishes of the anthiine genus Pseudanthias from the South Pacific. Raffles Bulletin Zoology 49(1):19-34.

Randall, J.E., R.L. Pyle and R.F. Myers. 2001. Three examples of hybrid surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae). Aqua 4(3):115-120.

Randall, J.E. and R.L. Pyle. 2001. Three new species of labrid fishes of the genus Cirrhilabrus from islands of tropical Pacific. Aqua 4(3):89-98.

Basset, Y., V. Novotny, S.E. Miller & R.L. Pyle. 2000. Quantifying biodiversity: Experience with parataxonomists and digital photography in New Guinea and Guyana. BioScience 50(10):899-908.

Pyle, R.L. 2000. Assessing Undiscovered Fish Biodiversity on Deep Coral Reefs Using Advanced Self-Contained Diving Technology. Marine Technology Society Journal 33(4):82-91.

Pyle, R.L. 1999. Patterns of coral reef fish biogeography in the Pacific region. In: Eldredge, L.G., J.E. Maragos, P.F. Holthus, and H.F. Takeuchi (Eds.). Marine and Coastal Biodiversity in the Tropical Island Pacific Region. Volume 2. Population, Development, and Conservation Priorities. Program on Environment, East-West Center / Pacific Science Association, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, pp. 157-175.

Pyle, R.L. 1999. Mixed-Gas, Closed-Circuit Rebreather Use for Identification of New Reef Fish Species from 200 - 500 fsw. pp. 53-65. In: Hamilton R.W., D.F. Pence, and D.E. Kesling (eds.) Assessment and Feasibility of Technical Diving Operations for Scientific Exploration. American Academy of Underwater Sciences, Nahant, Massachusetts. 83 pp.

Pyle, R.L. 1998. Chapter 7. Use of advanced mixed-gas diving technology to explore the coral reef "Twilight Zone". pp. 71-88. In: Tanacredi, J.T. and J. Loret (Eds.). Ocean Pulse: A Crtitical Diagnosis. Plenum Press, New York. xii + 201 pp.

Pyle, R.L. 1997. A new angelfish of the genus Genicanthus (Perciformes: Pomacanthidae) from the Ogasawara Islands and Minami Tori Shima (Marcus Island). Rvue franaise Aquariologie 24(3-4):87-92.

Pyle R.L. and D. Youngblood. 1997. In-water recompression as an emergency field treatment of decompression illness (Revised). SPUMS J. 27(3):154-169.

Pyle, R.L. 1996. A Learner's Guide to Closed Circuit Rebreather Diving. In: Proceedings of the Rebreather Forum 2.0. 26-28 September, 1996. Redondo Beach, CA, pp. P45-P67.

Earle, J.L. and R.L. Pyle. 1997. Hoplolatilus pohlei, a new species of sand tilefish (Perciformes: Malacanthidae) from the deep reefs of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea. Copeia 1997(2):383-387.

Randall, J.E., K. Kato, H. Ida, R.L. Pyle, and J.L. Earle. 1997. Annotated checklist of the inshore fishes of the Ogasawara Islands. National Science Museum Monographs No. 11. National Science Museum, Tokyo. 74 pp + 19 col. pls.

Pyle, R.L. 1997. The Importance of Deep Safety Stops: Rethinking Ascent Patterns From Decompression Dives. South Pacific Underwater Medical Society Journal (SPUMS) 27(2):112-115.

Gill, A.C., R.L. Pyle, and J.L. Earle. 1996. Pseudochromis ephippiatus, new species of dottyback from southeastern Papua New Guinea (Teleostei: Perciformes: Pseudochromidae). Révue française Aquariologie 23(3-4):97-100.

Pyle, R.L. 1996. The Twilight Zone. Natural History 105(11):59-62.

Pyle, R.L. 1996. How much coral reef biodiversity are we missing? Global biodiversity 6(1):3-7.

Pyle, R.L. and J.E. Randall. 1994. A review of hybridization in marine angelfishes (Perciformes: Pomacanthidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 41:127-145.

Pyle, R.L. 1994. Chapter 6. Aquarium Fish, p. 135-76. In: Wright, A. & L. Hill, Inshore Marine Resources of the South Pacific: Information for Fishery Development and Management. Institute of Pacific Studies, Suva; Forum Fisheries Agancy, Honiara; International Centre for Ocean Development, Canada Book project funded by ICOD and organized by the Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Pyle, R.L. & E.H. Chave. 1994. First record of the chaetodontid genus Prognathodes from the Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 48(1):90-93.

Pyle, R.L. & J.E. Randall. 1992. A new species of Centropyge from the Cook Islands, with a redescription of Centropyge boylei. Revue Française Aquariologique 19(4):115-24.

Pyle, R.L. 1990. Centropyge debelius, a new species of angelfish (Teleostei: Pomacanthidae) from Mauritius and Réunion. Revue Française Aquariologique 17(2):47-52.

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