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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...

2007

Peterson ATownsend.  2007.  Geographic variation in size and coloration in the Turdus poliocephalus complex. Scientific Papers of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. 40:1-17.
Bonaccorso E, Peterson ATownsend.  2007.  A multilocus phylogeny of New World jay genera. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 42:467-476.

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

2007

Peterson ATownsend.  2007.  Geographic variation in size and coloration in the Turdus poliocephalus complex. Scientific Papers of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. 40:1-17.
Bonaccorso E, Peterson ATownsend.  2007.  A multilocus phylogeny of New World jay genera. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 42:467-476.
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

May 10, 2012
After a fast paced semester, Stop Day is an exclamation point between formal classes and exams. In spring, exam week is followed by another exclamation point: Graduation weekend. This is a...
April 27, 2012
The end of the semester is approaching fast, with finals just around the corner. Everyone in the lab has made significant strides this semester. Choru passed his comprehensive exams and is now ABD....
March 27, 2012
KU Entomology has enjoyed a long tradition of weekly lunch talks given by resident entomologists and visiting colleagues. This spring, I am handling the speaker schedule, which has been a piece of...
March 20, 2012
What an exciting day to participate in the installation of specimens and other objects in the upcoming exhibition, "39 Trails: Research in the Peruvian Amazon", curated by Dr. Stephen...
March 5, 2012
A few days ago, I arrived in Suriname for my second expedition of the year. I am working with some of the good folks at the National Zoological Collection of Suriname, including mentoring a student...
March 1, 2012
A skull of a Smilodon californicus exhibited at the KU Natural History Museum, one of largest such skulls ever found, caught the eye of Lawrence residents George and Mary Ann Brenner. The Brenners...
January 28, 2012
 Greetings from San Carlos del Zulia, Venezuela. I'm a bit over a week into my first expedition of the year--this one to continue our aquatic insect survey efforts in Venezuela. We've spent he...
January 16, 2012
It is the day before classes begin, and I start teaching Intro Systematics (with Dr. Mark Holder and TA Taro Eldredge). Quite exciting to see the 45+ names of enrolled students, review my lecture,...
January 3, 2012
2011 featured pernicious political posturing over what we know and how we discover it. Florida Gov. Rick Scott told the state’s universities that they should be educating students in areas...
December 19, 2011
Snowy owls - known to Harry Potter fans and birders alike - are making an appearance in Kansas and Missouri this fall and winter. The owls, which reside most of the year in Canadian tundra and arctic...