Ray is broadly interested in patterns of evolution and diversity of African freshwater fishes and is an authority on several groups of African fishes. In discovering new species and identifying biodiversity hotspots this research is helping to conserve these threatened freshwater ecosystems. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University (2005) and Master’s in Biology from Texas A&M - Corpus Christi (2008). His PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Tulane University (2014) investigated the historical biogeography of fishes from the upper Guinean forest and surrounding areas in West Africa. In addition to his doctoral research, he has surveyed fishes in Guinea, Liberia, and Kenya. He has spent almost six years conducting research on biodiversity of fish in Kenya, and possess great knowledge of the fish diversity and distribution in East Africa. His research resulted in discovery and description of many new species of fishes throughout Africa. His postdoctoral research was based in Kenya as a Smithsonian Mpala Postdoctoral Fellow, focusing his research on fish community structure and the effects of ongoing development projects in the Northern Ewaso Ng’iro basin. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Randolph-Macon College teaching Evolution, Integrative Biology, Field Vertebrate Biology, and Conservation Biology. He is also a Research Associate in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian Institution and a National Geographic Explorer.