Dr. Gosliner is also a leading researcher in the evolutionary history of nudibranchs (the colorful group also known as sea slugs), and has published more than 150 scientific papers and five books in his career. His research focuses on the evolution and adaptive radiation of opisthobranch mollusks, especially nudibranchs or sea slugs. He utilizes phylogenetic techniques, both morphological and molecular to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships of major groups of opisthobranchs. With these phylogenies he studies adaptive radiation, evolution of color patterns and implications to conservation biology. Fundamental studies of opisthobranchs also focus on documenting biodiversity, with a focus on the Coral Triangle of the western Pacific. Approximately 40-60% of the species have been collected from tropical regions are undescribed species and currently members of our lab are describing many of these species within taxonomic revisions. Additionally he has conducted extensive field-work in southern Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands and California. His work has been supported by NSF to train the next generation of opisthobranch workers and including undergraduates, Masters’ students, Ph.D students and postdoctoral fellows. Other aspects have been supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and California Sea Grant.

His field studies have uncovered more than one thousand new species, and have taken him to southern Africa, the western Indian Ocean, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Since 1992, he has focused his research on the nudibranch fauna of the reefs of the Philippines, documenting the most diverse marine ecosystems of the world. He was instrumental in developing the Philippine coral reef exhibit at the Academy and has worked actively to strengthen ties with Bay Area Filipino communities. He also has extensive experience in building collaborations to support sustainable management and conservation of the rich reefs of the Philippines. Dr. Gosliner is also a champion of educational outreach, particularly in the Philippines, where he has worked with local researchers, educators and community leaders to share knowledge and resources with locals, empowering them to prioritize conservation in Philippine waters rich with biodiversity. He recently lead the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition that documented remarkable new biodiversity from Philippine forest, coral reefs and deep-sea environments and is currently leading biodiversity studies in the Verde Island Passage of the Philippines, where he conducted a major expedition in 2014.

Dr. Gosliner first joined the Academy as an Assistant Curator in 1982, and has previously served as Director of Research, Provost of the Academy and Dean of Science and Research Collections.

Dr. Gosliner received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972, his Masters of Science from the University of Hawaii in 1973 and his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in 1978.


Documenting Diversity in the Apex of the Coral Triangle: Inventory of Philippine Marine Biodiversity

Scientific Publications for the last 5 years



M. Pola and T. Gosliner. A new large and colourful species of the genus Doto (Nudibranchia, Dotidae) from South Africa. Journal of Natural History http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00222933.2015.1034211

Gosliner, T. Three new species of aglajid cephalspidean mollusks from the tropical Indo-Pacific of the Verde Island Passage. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, series 4, volume 62 (6):191-205.

Carissa Shipman and T. M. Gosliner Molecular systematic revision of Dotidae Gray (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia: Nudibranchia) with re-description and designation of a neotype of Doto coronata Gmelin and descriptions of five new species and a new genus. Zootaxa.

J. Hallas and T. Gosliner Family matters: the first molecular phylogeny of the Onchidorididae Gray, 1827 (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Nudibranchia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 88: 16-27.

R. Hulett, J. Mahguib, T. M. Gosliner and Á. Valdés Molecular evaluation of the phylogenetic position of the enigmatic species Tritonia papalotla Bertsch et al. 2009 (Mollusca, Nudibranchia) Invertebrate Systematics http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS15002

Goodheart, J. Y. Camacho-García, V. Padula, M. Schrödl, J. L. Cervera, T. M. Gosliner and Á. Valdés 2015. Systematics and biogeography of Pleurobranchus Cuvier, 1804 sea slugs (Mollusca: Heterobranchia: Nudipleura: Pleurobranchidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society doi: 10.1111/zoj.12237

Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera. Protaeolidiella Baba, 1955 vs Pleurolidia Burn, 1966: one or two species. Helgoland Marine Research DOI 10.1007/s10152-014-0422-3


Moore, E. and T. Gosliner 2014. Additions to the genus Phyllodesmium, with a phylogenetic analysis and its implications to the evolution of symbiosis. The Veliger 51(4): 237-251.

Pola, M., V. Padula, T. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2014. Going further on Nembrothinae - description of five new species and a more complete phylogeny. Cladistics 30 (6): 607-634.

Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2014. The Atlantic and Mediterranean genus Berghia Trinchese, 1877 Nudibranchia: Aeolidiidae. Journal of Molluscan Studies. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyu031, 1-17

Cooke, S., D. Hanson, Y. Hirano, E. Ornelas-Gatdula, T. M. Gosliner, A. V. Cherneyshev & A. Á. Valdés. 2014. Cryptic diversity of Melanochlamys sea slugs (Gastropoda, Aglajidae) in the North Pacific. Zoologica Scripta doi:10.1111/zsc.12063

Rocha, L et al. (100+ authors). 2014. Specimen collection: An essential tool. Science 344 (6186): 8-14-815.Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. M. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2014. Solving a big mess: systematic review of Anteaeolidiella (Mollusca, Nudibranchia Aeolidiidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 171:108-132

Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. M. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2014. Review of Baeolidia, the largest genus of Aeolidiidae (Mollusca: Nudibranchia), with the description of five new species. Zootaxa 3802 (4): 477514

Burke, M. and T. Gosliner 2014. Foreward. The Coral Triangle: the 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Expedition. Special Publication of the California Academy of Sciences: 7-17.

Camacho-García, Y. E., E. Ornelas-Gatdula, T. M. Gosliner, and Á. Valdés 2014. Phylogeny of the family Aglajidae (Pilsbry, 1895) (Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea) inferred from mtDNA and nDNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71:113-126.

Carmona, L., B. R Lei, M. Pola, T. M. Gosliner, Á. Valdés and J. L. Cervera 2014. Untangling the Spurilla neapolitana (Delle Chiaje, 1841) species complex: A review of the genus Spurilla Bergh, 1864 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Aeolidiidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 170:132-154.

Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. M. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2014. 2014b. The end of a long controversy: systematics of the genus Limenandra (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Aeolidiidae. Helgoland Marine Research 12 pp. DOI:10.1007/s10152-013-0367-y

Gonzales, C., and T. Gosliner 2014. Six new species of Philine (Opisthobranchia: Philinidae) from the tropical Indo-Pacific. The Coral Triangle: the 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Expedition. Special Publication of the California Academy of Sciences: 351-383.

Gosliner, T. M. and M. Burke 2014. From parachutes to partnerships: An “integrated” natural history museum expedition in the Philippines. The Coral Triangle: the 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Expedition. Special Publication of the California Academy of Sciences: 19-37.

Knutson, V. and T. Gosliner. 2014. Three new species of Gymnodoris nudibranchs from the Philippines. The Coral Triangle: the 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Expedition. Special Publication of the California Academy of Sciences: 129-143.


Gosliner, T. and M. Burke 2013. From parachutes to partnerships: an “integrated natural history museum expedition to the Philippines. Curator 56(1): 47-67.

Carmona, L., M. Pola, T. M. Gosliner and J. L. Cervera 2013a. A tale that morphology fails to tell: a molecular phylogeny of Aeolidiidae (Aeolidida, Nudibranchia, Gastropoda). PLoS One 5(8). DOI:0.1371/journal.pone.0063000


Johnson, R. and T. Gosliner 2012. Traditional Taxonomic Groupings Mask Evolutionary History: A Molecular Phylogeny and New Classification of the Chromodorid Nudibranchs. PLoS One 7(4): e33479. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033479

Krug, P. J., J. H. Asif, I. Baeza, M. S. Morley, W. M. Blom, and T. M. Gosliner 2012. Molecular identification of two species of the carnivorous sea slug Philine, invaders of the U.S. west coast. Biological Invasions 14: 2447-2459 DOI: 10.1007/s10530-012-0242-9

Ornelas-Gatdula, E, Y. Camacho-García, M. Schrödl, V. Padula, Y. Hooker, T. M. Gosliner, and Á. Valdés 2012. Molecular systematics of the “Navanax aenigmaticus” species complex (Mollusca, Cephalaspidea): Coming full circle. Zoologica Scripta doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2012.00538.x

Pola, M., Y. Camacho García and T. M. Gosliner 2012. Molecular data illuminate cryptic nudibranch species: the evolution of the Scyllaeidae (Nudibranchia: Dendronotina) with a revision of Notobryon. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 165 (2): 311–336.

Pola, M. and T. Gosliner. 2012. Diversification of filter-feeding nudibranchs: two remarkable new species of Melibe (Opisthobranchia: Tethyiidae) from the tropical western Pacific. Systematics and Biodiversity 10 (3): 333-349.


Carmona, L., T. M. Gosliner, M. Pola and J. L. Cervera 2011. A molecular approach to the phylogenetic status of the aeolid genus Babakina Roller, 1973 (Nudibranchia): a molecular approach, Journal of Molluscan Studies 77: 417-422.

Carmona, L., M. Malaquias, T. M. Gosliner, M. Pola and J. L. Cervera. 2011. Amphi-Atlantic distributions and cryptic species in sacoglossan sea slugs. Journal of Molluscan Studies 77:401-412.

Goddard, J. H. R., T. M. Gosliner and J. S. Pearse 2011. Impacts associated with the recent range shift of the aeolid nudibranch Phidiana hiltoni (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia) in California. Marine Biology 158 (5): 1095-1109.

Gosliner, T. 2011. Six new species of aglajid opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical Indo-Pacific. Zootaxa 2751: 1-24.

Gosliner, T. and S. Fahey 2011. Previously undocumented diversity and abundance of cryptic species: A Phylogenetic Analysis of Indo-Pacific Arminidae Rafinesque 1814 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) with descriptions of twenty new species of Dermatobranchus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 245–356.

Medina, M., S.i Lal, Y. Vallès, T. L. Takaoka, B. A. Dayrat, J. Boore & T. M. Gosliner 2011. Crawling through time: transition of snails to slugs dating back to the Paleozoic, based on mitcochondrial phylogenomics. Marine Genomics 4(1): 51-59.

Moore, E. and T. Gosliner 2011. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of symbiosis in a clade of Indo-Pacific nudibranchs. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58: 116-123.

Price, R., T. M. Gosliner & Á. Valdés 2011. Systematics and phylogeny of Philine (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia), with emphasis on the Philine aperta clade. The Veliger 51 (2): 1-58.

Schultz, S., J. H. R. Goddard, T. M. Gosliner, D. E. Mason, W. E. Pence, G. R. McDonald, V. B. Pearse & J. S. Pearse 2011. Climate-index response profiling indicates larval transport is driving population fluctuations in nudibranch gastropods from the northeast Pacific Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography 56 (2): 749-763.


Gosliner, T. 2010. Two new species of nudibranch mollusks from the coast of California. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 61: 623-631.

M. Pola and T. M. Gosliner 2010. First molecular phylogeny of cladobranchian opisthobranchs (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Nudibranchia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56: 931-941.

Valdés, A., T. M. Gosliner and M. T. Ghiselin 2010. Chapter 8. Opisthobranchs. In: The Evolution of Primary Sexual Characters in Animals. Janet L. Leonard and Alex Córdoba-Aguilar (Eds.), Oxford University Press, 148-172.

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