About me...

I am Dr. Chris Mah and I research the evolution and biology of asteroids (aka starfishes or sea stars). Here is a Google page that goes into my H-index and all that..

and here's an interview from Smithsonian.com about me from awhile back..

I received my PhD in Geology (Paleontology) from the University of Illinois in 2005, my Masters in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University (in cooperation with the California Academy of Sciences) and got my B.S. in Zoology from Humboldt State.

I am a San Francisco native but currently reside in Washington DC.

My research focuses primarily on phylogeny and biodiversity of living asteroids. I emphasize cold-water taxa, including deep-sea and Antarctic faunas, especially in the Goniasteridae and the Forcipulacea. But I work on all types of starfish and from all over the world. I focus primarily on deep-sea starfishes from the Indian and Pacific Oceans but have worked on species from all over, including fossils.

And yes, I am a systematist, taxonomist, whatever you want to call it-I identify and classify starfish for a living. But I also do a lot of paleontology, biogeography, species evolution, higher level classification, and other stuff...

As of today, September 20, 2021, I've described over 84 new species and 20 new genera (with more on the way). Several of these species are pictured here.

I am the editor of the World Asteroidea Database.

My research has included submersible trips in Hawaii and the Caribbean, field work (ie ship time) in Antarctica, the Aleutians, Monterey Bay, and the middle of the North Pacific. Museum research has taken me to New Zealand, Australia, Chile, France, Belgium, and the UK.

Currently I am a research collaborator at a big museum in Washington D.C. This blog represents my views and NOT that of any institution I am affiliated with nor of any funding agency supporting my research.

My current station does not permit hosting long-term workers, including grad students and visiting scientists. I will consider "reader" or advisor status for student committees under certain conditions.

Peer Reviewed Publications? Take a look! 

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1755267214001201 

Foltz D, Fatland S, Eléaume M, Markello K, Howell K,Neil K, and Mah C. 2013. Global population divergence of the sea star Hippasteria phrygiana corresponds to onset of the last glacial period of the Pleistocene. Marine Biology 160(5): 1285-1296

Mah CL, Mercier A, Hamel J-P, and Nizinski M. 2012.Distribution Data and Taxonomic Notes on Atlantic Myxasteridae. Zootaxa 3572: 55-62.

Appeltans W. et al.(multi-author) (Mah, C). 2012. The magnitude of global marine speciesdiversity. Current Biology 22:2189-2202.

White BA, McClintock J, Amsler C, Mah CL, Amsler MO, White, S, Quetin LB and Ross RM. 2012.The abundance and distribution of echinoderms in nearshore hard-bottom habitatsnear Anvers Island, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science 24(6): 554-560.

Mah, C. and D.B. Blake. 2012 Global Diversity and Phylogenyof the Asteroidea (Echinodermata). PLoS ONE 7(4): e35644. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035644

Hendrickx, M., Mah, C. and C-M. Zarate. 2011. Deep-water Asteroidea(Echinodermata) collected during the slope cruises in the Gulf of California,Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad  82:798-824.

McClintock, J.B, Amsler, M.O., Angus, R.O., Challener, R.C., Schram, J.B., Amsler, C.D., Mah C.L., and Baker, B.J. 2011. The Mg-Calcite composition of Antarctic echinoderms: important implications for predicting the impacts of ocean acidification. Journal of Geology 119(5): 457-466.

Dettai, A; Adamowizc, S; Allcock, A.L.; Arango, C; Barnes, D.K.A.; Barratt, I; Chenuil, A; Couloux, A; Cruaud, C; David, B; Francois, D; Denys, G; Diaz, Angie; Eleaume, M; Feral J-P; Froger, A; Gallut, C; Grant, R; Griffiths, H.J.; Huw, J; Held, C; Kuklinski, P; Hemery, L; Hosie, G; Lecointre, G; Linse, Katrin; Lozouet, P; Mah, C; Monniot, F; Norman, M.D.; Ozouf-Costaz, C; Piedallu, C; Pierrat, B; Poulin, E.; Puillandre, N; Riddle, M; Samadi, S; Saucede, T; Schubart, C; Smith, P.J.; Darren, W; Steinke, D; Strugnell, J.M.; Tarnowska, K., Tarnowska, K; Wadley, V; Ameziane, N. 2011.  Barcoding and molecular systematics of the benthic and demersal organisms of CEAMARC. Polar Science  5(2): 298-312.

Mah, C. and D. Foltz. 2011. Molecular Phylogeny of the Forcipulatacea(Asteroidea: Echinodermata): Systematics & Biogeography. ZoologicalJournal of the Linnean Society. 162:646-660.

Mah, C.L. and D.W. Foltz. 2011. Molecular Phylogeny of theValvatacea (Asteroidea, Echinodermata). Zoological Journal of the LinneanSociety 161: 769-788.

Mah, C.  2011. Revision and Key to High-Latitude (Antarctic and subAntarctic)Goniasteridae. Zootaxa 2759:1-48.

Hardy S. M., C.M. Carr, M. Hardman, D. Steinke, E. Corstorphine, C. Mah. 2010. Biodiversity and phylogeography of Arctic marine fauna: Insights from molecular tools. Marine Biodiversity 41(1): 195-210.

Mah, C.L., M. Nizinski, L. Lundsten. 2010. Phylogenetic Revisionof the Hippasterinae (Goniasteridae; Asteroidea): Systematics of Deep SeaCorallivores, including one new genus and three new species. ZoologicalJournal of the Linnean Society 160:266-301, 11 figs.

Foltz, D.W. and C.L. Mah.  2010. Difference in larval type explains patterns of nonsynonymous substitutions in two ancient paralogs of the histone H3 gene in sea stars. Evolution & Development. 12(2): 222-230.

Mah, C.L., D.G. McKnight, M.K. Eagle, D.L. Pawson, N. Ameziane, D.J. Vance, A.N. Baker, H.E.S. Clark, and N. Alcock. 2009 in Gordon, D.P. (Ed.) The New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity. Volume 1. Kingdom Animalia: Radiata, Lophotrochozoa, Deuterostomia. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Mutschke, E. & C. Mah. 2009. Asteroidea-Starfish In Häussermann, V. & Försterra, G. (eds.) Marine Benthic Fauna of Chilean Patagonia. Nature in Focus, Santiago, Chile, 1000 pp. Field

Kogure, Y. A. Kaneko, M. Nonaka, and C. Mah. 2009. A rarely encountered oreasterid sea star, Astrosarkus idipi (Echinodermata, Asteroidea), newly recorded from Japanese waters. Journal of the Biogeographical Society of Japan 11: 73-76

Foltz, D.W. and Mah, C.L. 2009. Recent relaxation of purifying selection on the tandem-repetitive early-stage histone H3 gene in brooding sea stars. Marine Genomics 2: 113-118.

Foltz, D.W., A.T. Nguyen, J.R. Kiger, C.L. Mah. 2008. Pleistocene speciation of sister taxa in a North Pacific clade of brooding sea stars (Leptasterias). Marine Biology 154(3): 593-602.

Mah, C.L. 2007. Asteroidea, in: J. T. Carlton, Editor, The Light & Smith Manual: Intertidal Invertebrates from the Central California to the Oregon coasts.  Fourth Edition. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles

Mah, C.L. 2007. Systematics, Phylogeny, and HistoricalBiogeography of the Pentagonaster clade(Asteroidea, Valvatida, Goniasteridae). Invertebrate Systematics 21: 311-339.

Mah, C.L. 2007. Phylogeny of the Zoroasteridae (Zorocallina;Forcipulatida): Evolutionary Events in Deep-Sea Asteroidea displaying PaleozoicFeatures.  ZoologicalJournal of the Linnean Society 150: 177-210.

Mah, C.L. and M. Segonzac. 2006. Brisinga endecacnemos and Freyella, pp. 477-478 in Handbook of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Fauna (Desbryeres, Segonzac, & Bright, eds) Denisia 18: 1-544.

Mah, C.L. 2006. Phylogeny and biogeography of the deep-sea goniasterid, Circeaster (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) including descriptions of six new species. Zoosystema. 28(4): 917-954.

Mah, C.L. 2006 A new species of Xyloplax from the Northeast Pacific: comparative morphology and a reassessmentof phylogeny. Invertebrate Biology125 (2): 136-153

Mah, C.L. 2005. A phylogeny of Iconaster and Glyphodiscus (Goniasteridae; Valvatida; Asteroidea) with descriptions of four new species. Zoosystema 27(1): 131-167.

Villier, L., K.M. Kutscher, Mah, C.L. 2004. Systematics and paleontology of middleToarcian Asteroidea (Echinodermata) from the 'Seuil du Poitou', Western France.Geobios 37(6):  807-825.

Mah, C. L. 2003. Astrosarkus idipi, a new Indo-Pacific genus and species of Oreasteridae (Valvatida; Asteroidea) displaying extreme skeletal reduction. Bulletinof Marine Science   73(3):685-698

Clark, A.M. and Mah, C.  2001.An index of names of recent Asteroidea - Part 4:  Forcipulatida and Brisingida in Echinoderm Studies. 6: 229-347.

Mah, C. 2000. Preliminary phylogeny of the forcipulatacean Asteroidea.  American Zoologist 40(3):  375-381

Mah, C. 1999.  Redescription and taxonomic notes on the South Pacific brisingidan Brisingaster robillardi (Asteroidea) with new ontogenetic and phylogenetic information. Zoosystema 21(3):  535-546

Mah, C. 1998. Preliminary phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the Brisingida (Asteroidea: Forcipulatacea).  pp.  273-277. Proceedings of the 9th International Echinoderm Conference, ed. by R. Mooi and M. Telford. San Francisco. Ballkema.

Mah, C. 1998.  New Records, Taxonomic Notes and a Checklist of Hawaiian Starfish.  Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 55:  65-71


Rote-Hahn said...

I was doing some research on sand dollars and "bumped" into your blog. I was especially interested in the rotula family.


Unknown said...

Hi Chris. Are you still recieving messages from this site? I have a question about one of your photos

ChrisM said...

Sure. If you follow through on some of the links, all of those email addresses are active.

Heckbot said...

Chris the Echninoblog dude guy. This may come to you as a surprise but you are one of the coolest humans alive currently. You're up there with the likes of Streep and Bjork.

ChrisM said...

thank you!

Shelby Z said...

Dr. Mah! Your page is so interesting, I hope I get to do what you do one day