Jeff Johnson

Jeff is a recognised authority on the identification and geographic distribution of Indo-Pacific, Australian and particularly Queensland fishes.

Jeff Johnson

He started as a cadet in the Ichthyology Section of the Queensland Museum in 1977 and worked as assistant to the Curator of Fishes until 1995. Since that time he has continued to manage the fish collection, but also conducts independent and collaborative research on fishes.

He has described new genera and species of fishes of the families Acanthuridae (unicornfishes), Aploactinidae (velvetfishes), Haemulidae (sweetlips), Pinguipedidae (sand perches), Soleidae (soles), Tetrabrachiidae (anglerfishes) and Uranoscopidae (stargazers). Numerous chapters on fishes have also been written for popular books and guides. Jeff has participated in, or led, various research projects to document fish biodiversity throughout Australia. The results of many of these projects are available as scientific reports, or regional checklists.

Information on all aspects of ichthyology is presented to the general public and scientific community, through response to inquiries, media interviews, reports, articles, identification guides and scientific papers. Jeff regularly assists researchers and students with identifications, project design and editing. He has wide experience in all methods of collecting and visually recording marine, estuarine and freshwater fishes and is an experienced scuba diver.

Current research interests are the taxonomy of aploactinid, pinguipedid, soleid and tetrarogid fishes, biogeography of Australian marine fishes, and recruitment of fishes to artificial reefs.

 Jeff aims to improve knowledge and awareness of the amazing diversity of Australian fishes, providing information to enhance management and conservation outcomes

Jeff aims to improve knowledge and awareness of the amazing diversity of Australian fishes, providing information to enhance management and conservation outcomes.

Areas of expertise

Classification and distribution of Australian and Indo-Pacific fishes, curation and collection management of fishes, field collection of fishes, underwater visual recording of fish species.  

Recent Publications

Johnson, J.W. 2011. Fish, In: Davie, P.J.F. et al. Wild Guide to Moreton Bay and Adjacent Coasts. Vol. 1, pp. 168-243 (Queensland Museum: Brisbane).

Johnson, J.W. 2012. Pseudopataecus carnatobarbatus, a new species of velvetfish (Teleostei: Scorpaeniformes: Aploactinidae) from the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Zootaxa 3245: 54–62.

Hitchcock, G., Finn, M.A., Burrows, D.W. & Johnson, J.W. 2012. Fishes from fresh and brackish waters of islands in Torres Strait, far north Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum - Nature 56(1): 13-24.

Johnson, J.W. & White, W. 2012. Parapercis pariomaculata (Perciformes: Pinguipedidae), a new species of sandperch from Lombok and Bali, Indonesia and remarks on the validity of P. quadrispinosa (Weber 1913). Zootaxa 3319: 57-68.

Kruck, N.C., Tibbetts, I.R., Ward, R.D., Johnson, J.W., Loh, W.K.W. and Ovenden, J.R. 2013. Multigene barcoding to discriminate sibling species within a morphologically difficult fish genus (Sillago). Fisheries Research 143: 39-46.

Ho, H-C. & Johnson, J.W. 2013. Redescription of Parapercis macrophthalma (Pietschmann, 1911) and description of a new species of Parapercis (Pisces: Pinguipedidae) from Taiwan. Zootaxa 3620 (2): 273-282.

Johnson, J.W. 2013. Fishes, p.239-274. In: The Great Barrier Reef: A Queensland Museum Discovery Guide, Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

Johnson, J.W. 2013. Kanekonia leichhardti, a new species of velvetfish (Actinopterygii: Scorpaeniformes: Aploactinidae) from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 58: 397-410.

Johnson, J.W., Struthers, C.D. & Worthington Wilmer, J. 2014. Parapercis nigrodorsalis (Perciformes: Pinguipedidae), a new species of sandperch from northern New Zealand and the Norfolk Ridge, Tasman Sea and remarks on P. binivirgata (Waite , 1904). Zootaxa 3856 (4): 484-500. Taylor, S.M.,

Johnson, J.W. & Bennett, M.B. 2015. Spatial gradient in the distribution of whaler sharks (Carcharhinidae) in Moreton Bay, southeastern Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 59: 39-53.

Johnson, J.W. & Worthington Wilmer, J. 2015. Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus, a new species of sweetlips (Perciformes: Haemulidae) from northern Australia and the resurrection of P. unicolor (Macleay, 1883), species previously confused with P. schotaf (Forsskal, 1775). Zootaxa 3985 (4): 491-522.

For a full list of Jeff Johnson's publications (125 KB) pdf document icon follow this link.

Fish Collections

Fishes are the most diverse of all the vertebrates, with over 32,000 species known worldwide. About 4,800 species have been recorded in Australian waters, including one of the most diverse marine faunas of any country. The number of Australian species continues to grow steadily, as new species are described and species known from other regions are recorded in local waters. The fish collection contains:

  • about 40,000 specimen lots;
  • over 650 type specimens, including types of some of the most significant early Australian ichthyological discoveries; strengths in freshwater and estuarine fishes of northern Australia;
  • shallow to deepwater demersal trawled species Queensland-wide; and southern Queensland reef and shore fish fauna;
  • other important material includes dredged fishes from a survey across the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef; reef fishes from the central Great Barrier Reef; and reef and shore fishes from the central Gulf of Carpentaria region;
  • 100% of the collection is databased, although a significant amount of unregistered unsorted material is still to be processed.

Fish Research

Project leader: Mr Jeffrey Johnson

  • biogeography of Queensland marine and estuarine fishes
  • taxonomy of Indo-Pacific marine fishes, especially the Aploactinidae, Haemulidae and Pinguipedidae.


Collection Manager, Ichthyology, Biodiversity Program


DipAppSci, Qld University of Technology

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