Steven M Norris


Adjunct Resesarch Associate, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Division of Fishes, Ann Arbor

Former NSF-NATO Fellow, Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium

Contact Information


Phone: 805/437-2763



B.A.  Liberal Arts, The Colorado College, 1982

M.Sc. Zoology, Oklahoma State University, 1987

Ph.D. Zoology, Arizona State University, 1994 


Steven Norris gained his appreciation of the living world in the deserts and mountains of his native New Mexico. Much of this experience he owes to his father. 

He attended college at The Colorado College (BA, Liberal Arts), majoring in Biology, a department in which most classes involved field trips and significant outdoor activities in the surrounding Rocky Mountains.  In graduate school, at Oklahoma State University (MSc, Zoology) and Arizona State University (PhD, Zoology), Dr. Norris specialized in ichthyology, initially in fish behavior, later in fish systematics and phylogenetics.

Dr. Norris held postdoctoral positions through the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Division of Fishes and The Royal Museum of Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium). During this time, he was privileged to work closely with some of the old guard of 20th Century European and North American Ichthyology.

A general and systematic ichthyologist, Dr. Norris is interested in nearly all aspects of the biology, ecology, evolution and conservation of fishes. His research activities have included work on the systematics, osteology, phylogenetics and biogeography of African freshwater fishes, the fishes of western North America and Mexico and arid land fishes in general, and the ecology of swampland fishes of the USA.

Natural History Museums and Collections have been at the center of much of Dr. Norris’s professional experience – both in their utilization as a researcher and in their management and development as a curator.

His research on African, North American and Mexican freshwater fishes has been published in regional and international meeting abstracts, and in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals and monographs series.

Dr. Norris coauthored sections of Freshwater Fishes of Mexico by Robert Rush Miller, W.L. Minckley and Steven Mark Norris (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and edited the entire tome for publication following the deaths of his two co-authors.

Dr. Norris has served peer-reviewed, scientific journals in his field. He was a member of the Editorial Board of Copeia (Journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists), and (for two years) was Assistant Editor for General Ichthyology for the Journal of Fish Biology.

Dr. Norris is an Adjunct Research Associate of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Division of Fishes, and former NSF-NATO Fellow at the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Ichthyology Laboratory.



I have been engaged in an ongoing survey of the native plants of the wild habitats of the CI campus. Results can be found here.

Collinsia heterophylla (purple and white) and Leptosyne bigelovii (yellow) on hillside to south of University Glen on CI campus (March 2003) (photo by SMN).



OLLI Class: The Mesozoic was very cool - Spring 2015

Part 1 - Dinosaurs - Introduction and some backgroud biology

Part 2 - Dinosaurs - Some geology and paleontology

Part 3 - Dinosaurs - How diversity is studied - and a bit on amniotes

Part 4 - Dinosaurs - Humans and dinosaur discovery

Part 5 - Dinosaurs - Dinosaur orgins and primtive archosaurs through Ornithician dinosaurs (more or less final version)

Part 6 - Dinosaurs - Saurichian dinosaurs (Complete Version)

Part 7 - Dinosaurs - Aquatic creatures, proto-mammals and the end



OLLI Class: Diversity of Vertebrates - Spring 2014

Part 1 - Introduction to Vertebrates - A bit on how things change

Part 2 - Early Chordates - Vertebrate and Craniate Origins

Part 3 - Introductin to Fishes - Jawless Fishes

Part 4 - Jawed fishes - through primitive ray-finned fishes

Part 4-1 - Teleost Fishes

Part 5 - Living on Land

Part 6 - Class Amphibia

Part 7 - Origin of the amniotes

Part 8 - Non Avian reptiles

Part 9 - The Mesozic was really cool - Dinosaurs and related creatures

Part 10 - Avian Reptiles (Birds)

Part 11 - Mammals and other synapsids

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California State University, Channel Islands