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A. Townsend Peterson
Curator
Ornithology
Biodiversity Institute

Distinguished Professor, KU Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Adjunct Faculty, KU Department of Geography
Adjunct Faculty, KU Latin American Studies Program
Adjunct Professor, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
 

Contact Information

Office Phone: 
785.864.3926
Email: 
town@ku.edu
Building: 
Dyche Hall

My research focuses on aspects of the geography of biodiversity. My formal training was in tropical ornithology, with a particular focus on systematics. As such, one component of my research focuses on the alpha taxonomy of birds, as well as on the phylogeny of recently radiated clades of birds. Tied to this focus is work with the basic geography of bird distributions, and with the composition of local avifaunas, based on detailed site inventories and scientific collections around the world. My work with the geographic and ecology of species' distributions, however, has taken me into other fields, including conservation biology and planning, invasive species biology, and disease transmission systems. In the latter field, my work has focused on numerous disease systems, including Chagas Disease, malaria, dengue, leischmaniasis, and ebola/Marburg. In general, my work is collaborative in nature, and usually involves geographers, computer scientists, and biologists.

Recent Blog Posts

February 25, 2011
Pete Hosner, EEB doctoral candidate and Ornithology student mentored by Rob...
January 18, 2011
Graduate student Peter Hosner and collection manager Mark Robbins received...
January 12, 2011
In December 2010, KU Biodiversity Institute graduate student Mike Andersen, and...
December 9, 2010
    Ornithology graduate student Michael Andersen and Curator Rob...

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2011

2010

2009

Education

  • B.S., Department of Zoology, Miami University, 1985
  • M.S., Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 1987
  • Ph.D., Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 1990
 

Publications

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

February 25, 2011

Pete Hosner, EEB doctoral candidate and Ornithology student mentored by Rob Moyle, received notification that his NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant proposal has been recommended for funding. The grant, entitled TESTING THE PLEISTOCENE AGGREGATE ISLAND COMPLEX (PAIC) MODEL OF DIVERSIFICATION IN CO-DISTRIBUTED AVIAN LINEAGES, has been recommended for funding for $14,866 over 24 months. The project will use multilocus DNA sequence data to discover whether there is a link between climate and sea level changes and diversification in eight "polytypic" bird species endemic to the Philippines.

 

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January 18, 2011
Graduate student Peter Hosner and collection manager Mark Robbins received notification this week that they have been...
January 12, 2011
In December 2010, KU Biodiversity Institute graduate student Mike Andersen, and curator of birds, Rob Moyle, completed...
December 9, 2010
    Ornithology graduate student Michael Andersen and Curator Rob Moyle are presently in Fiji, carrying...

From the Biodiversity Insitute blog

April 3, 2014
When painting conservator Joan Gorman walks in the Panorama, she is not focused on the taxidermy. She’s looking closely at the illusions created by the murals on the wall. Joan, a 25-year-...
April 1, 2014
A chance meeting on a plane led to the opportunity to step behind the glass of the Panorama for Ivan Greene, the youngest member of the conservation assessment team. Ivan’s mother, Juliet, met...
March 30, 2014
In the center of the Panorama exhibit, an endless stream appears and empties into a pond. For years, exhibits director Bruce Scherting has worried that the pond could leak or flood the exhibit. In...
March 29, 2014
One of the most enduring images of the Panorama shows Dyche and assistants posed with “mountain” made of crates and a few taxidermied specimens, prior to the 1893 World’s Fair. We...
March 26, 2014
Sure, it's an innocent looking rabbit. But a closer look -- and a chemical analysis -- reveal this is not a jackrabbit to be disturbed.  When the conservation team arrived in December for...
March 24, 2014
Part of the illusion created by the arrangement of the Panorama is the sense that it is one continuous scene, from polar region to the tropics. Murals, rock formations, plants and other background...
March 19, 2014
The Panorama was full of families today creating their own diorama. And what better place to do it than the biggest diorama any of them had ever seen? Everyone created a scene in their museum...
March 18, 2014
Nancy Bixler concentrated on cleaning the impressive 6-foot moose today. She’s from Maine, so while she has seen these animals in the wild, it’s certainly a unique experience to walk...
March 17, 2014
One of the challenges has been to figure out how to plug in the special vacuum units that the conservation team is using, which look like miniature R2D2 robots. Unlike in a home, these vacuums can...
March 17, 2014
Conservation assessment team member Tara Hornung hails from Colorado, so rocky surfaces and mountains are familiar terrain. Today we could see her scaling the surface of the Panorama’s...