Museum

Current Research Projects

Alaska's alpine mammals: distribution, conservation, and response to climate change

Since 2003 members of the Department of Mammalogy and numerous colleagues have been conducting field, museum, and laboratory studies of Alaska's small to medium-size alpine mammals, primarily marmots, pikas, and singing voles.  Several grants from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Science Foundation have supported a broad range of activities and adventures.  More coming soon...

Evolution of Madagascar's tenrecs

While the Museum's emphasis may be local to regional, its perspective is global.  Like several other researchers in the Museum and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, we are actively engaged in research in other parts of the world.  Curator Link Olson and his students have been studying one of the world's most bizarre yet spectacular evolutionary experiments in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspots in peril.  With a recent grant from the National Science Foundation, Olson, Ph.D. student Katie Everson, and colleagues from three other institutions are using genomic, geographic, and morphological data to find out how many species of small mammals there are on Madagascar.  More coming soon...

Exploring treeshrew diversity in Southeast Asia

With 15,000-20,000 islands (the exact number is unknown!), Southeast Asia is a veritable bonanza of species diversity and local endemism (wherein individual species are often found only on specific islands, mountain ranges, or other geological features). Many islands in the region are separated from the mainland (and often other islands) by shallow bodies of water that repeatedly disappeared and reappeared as sea levels fluctuated during the last glacial cyles. Terrestrial and freshwater species isolated on individual islands often evolved into distinct species when sea levels were high.  Treeshrews, an enigmatic branch on the mammal tree of life, are thought to be one such group.  Grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society have supported recent research on treeshrew evolution, biogeography, and conservation.  More coming soon...

The effects of environmental change on body size in Alaska's small mammals

Climate change is occurring at a much more rapid pace in Alaska than in much of the rest of the world, including the contiguous United States.  The effects of this change on Alaska's wildlife remain largely unknown, but a growing number of studies have found that average body size in some mammal species has changed significantly in the past 50 years alone, much faster than was previously thought possible. Researchers in the Department of Mammalogy are studying how this may be occurring, with an ambitious plan to revisit sites throughout the state where small mammals were first studied 30 to over 100 years ago.  More coming soon...

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