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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...

1994

1993

Peterson ATownsend.  1993.  Species status of Geotrygon carrikeri. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 113:166-168.
Peterson ATownsend, Vargas-Barajas N.  1993.  Ecological diversity in Scrub Jays, Aphelocoma coerulescens. Biological Diversity of Mexico: Origins and Distribution. :309-317.

1992

Peterson ATownsend.  1992.  Philopatry and genetic differentiation in the Aphelocoma jays. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society. 47:249-260.

1991

Peterson ATownsend.  1991.  New distributional information on the Aphelocoma jays. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 111:28-33.

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

1994

1993

Peterson ATownsend.  1993.  Species status of Geotrygon carrikeri. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 113:166-168.
Peterson ATownsend, Vargas-Barajas N.  1993.  Ecological diversity in Scrub Jays, Aphelocoma coerulescens. Biological Diversity of Mexico: Origins and Distribution. :309-317.

1992

Peterson ATownsend.  1992.  Philopatry and genetic differentiation in the Aphelocoma jays. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society. 47:249-260.

1991

Peterson ATownsend.  1991.  New distributional information on the Aphelocoma jays. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 111:28-33.
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

January 21, 2010
On the last night at Barangay Maddiangat, the town officials hosted a dinner for us. I guess one of the assistants to one of the officials was really charmed by me. Peelan (sp?) couldn’t really...
January 20, 2010
I’m in Manila, flying home tomorrow on the 21st. Let me sum up my last few days at the Barangay Maddiangat. Again, cold, rainy weather resulted in poor collecting at our third and last site. We...
January 18, 2010
After two weeks of diving and snorkeling the beautiful waters of Moorea to collect sea anemones, my time on the island was coming to a close. Which meant it was time to pack all my gear and specimens...
January 18, 2010
On the morning of the 16th, we hiked down from the second camp to spend a few days herping around the Barangay Maddiangat (elevation 200m) at the base of Mt. Palali. Once again, unexpectedly cold...
January 14, 2010
Today was cold. Very cold. Too cold to find any herps – except one. Perry brought a tiny snake from the genus Calamaria that he found near his tent. Up until now, I had avoided handling any of...
January 13, 2010
Today is my birthday. It is also Linda Trueb’s birthday. I don’t know if she knows that we are birthday buddies. So, I celebrated my birthday out in the field on Mt. Palali.  It was...
January 12, 2010
I’ve discovered on this trip that one of the most satisfying things for a herpetologist is for them to spot and catch a herp. I was a bit mopey yesterday because I failed to spot AND catch a...
January 10, 2010
Today we moved down to the lower elevation camp on the mountain (721m). The hike down was steep and slick with mud; it involved a lot of tripping and sliding. I call it “strategically falling...
January 8, 2010
Right now I’m relaxing in my warm, yellow tent. We’re still on the high elevation camp. On the second night of herping I caught my first Philippine frog – an unlucky Platymantis...
January 6, 2010
I just got back from hiking up to the peak of Mt. Palali, which is just under 1700 meters elevation. For some absurd reason I thought it would be more of a gentle, nature walk to the peak –...