Ichthyologist and Curator of Fishes

Ichtyologist Dr. Carole Baldwin at a table with specimen containers, she is holding one in her left hand. Shelves are behind
Dr. Carole Baldwin in her lab, examining specimens.

Dr. Carole Baldwin is a research zoologist, specializing in fishes, at the National Museum of Natural history. She grew up in coastal South Carolina, where she fell in love with the sea. As a kid, she combed the beach for treasures: sand dollars, shark’s teeth, shells, jellyfish, and crabs. She followed her passion for the sea to earn a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences. Her mission as a marine biologist became to explore and help piece together the enormous puzzle of life in seas that cover about 70% of our planet.

Carole joined the Smithsonian in 1992 and became a Curator of Fishes in 2001. She has  published more than  five dozen scientific papers. Her work at Smithsonian focuses on the diversity and relationships (systematic zoology) of fishes. Her emphasis on tropical-marine and deep-reef environments has taken her into the waters of the Caribbean, tropical eastern Pacific, and South Pacific. Carole is credited with discovering new species of fishes in Belize, Curacao, Tobago, Cook Islands, Australia, El Salvador and the Galápagos Islands. She is a co-author of One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish Bluefish—The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook and a co-curator of the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall exhibit. She enjoys sharing her experience as a marine biologist with students interested in science careers.