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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...

2005

Peterson ATownsend, Kluza DA.  2005.  Ecological niche modeling as a new paradigm for large-scale investigations of diversity and distribution of birds. Third International Partners in Flight Conference, March 20-24, 2002. PSW-GTR-191:1201-1204.

2004

Wiley, III EO, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  Biodiversity and the Internet: building and using the virtual world museum. Environmental Online Communication, Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing Series. :91–99.
Sánchez-Cordero V, Munguia M, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  GIS-based predictive biogeography in the context of conservation. Frontiers of Biogeography: New Directions in the Geography of Nature. :311-323.
Soberón J, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  Biodiversity informatics: Managing and applying primary biodiversity data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 359:689-698.

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

2005

Peterson ATownsend, Kluza DA.  2005.  Ecological niche modeling as a new paradigm for large-scale investigations of diversity and distribution of birds. Third International Partners in Flight Conference, March 20-24, 2002. PSW-GTR-191:1201-1204.

2004

Wiley, III EO, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  Biodiversity and the Internet: building and using the virtual world museum. Environmental Online Communication, Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing Series. :91–99.
Sánchez-Cordero V, Munguia M, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  GIS-based predictive biogeography in the context of conservation. Frontiers of Biogeography: New Directions in the Geography of Nature. :311-323.
Soberón J, Peterson ATownsend.  2004.  Biodiversity informatics: Managing and applying primary biodiversity data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 359:689-698.
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

June 18, 2011
Just prior to leaving for Peru, I was told of the exceptional cuisine that Lima had to offer.  Before, I learned about cuy (pronounced “coo-ee”) – guinea pig.  I imagined...
June 15, 2011
Several days ago I came across two primate specialists in the forest. One was wearing a loudspeaker on her head that was emitting monkey calls (calls of the saddle-backed tamarin, I believe). This...
June 15, 2011
My good fortune finally ran out. Up until Sunday evening I had experienced very little turbulence on this trip: the airplane flights were uneventful, in Lima I ate multiple things I probably shouldn...
June 14, 2011
The last few days have been the most interesting. Daily walks have familiarized us to the rain forest, and we now know where to look for certain types of bugs, birds, reptiles, etc. All of us have a...
June 13, 2011
During our second full day out at the CICRA research station in the rain forest, a few of us went out with Caroline and Dan, her colleague in her research in Amazonia Peru, to the area where they...
June 12, 2011
A few days ago I hiked through the forest for the first time covered in DEET. I swatted at every insect that came near me. Finally I conceded that I did come to the rainforest with an entomologist. I...
June 11, 2011
It’s strange how a theme will keep popping up in conversations over the course of days or weeks. This phenomenon has occurred several times on this trip, and the best example of it is the one I...
June 11, 2011
I used to be terrified of bees and wasps. If I was playing in the yard and I saw a wasp in the neighbor’s bushes, I would run inside. And yet, now I am considering a career in entomology....
June 9, 2011
    We are quickly settling into a routine at the CICRA field station: wake up at 6 a.m., have a hearty breakfast, and then go on a walk from about 8 a.m. to noon. Have a big lunch and...
June 8, 2011
Writing blog posts by flashlight isn’t ideal, but I’d better start this post if I’m going to finish by the time the power shuts off at 9:30 p.m. The past two days have been a blur....