Systematics of the Neotoma mexicana species group (Mammalia: Rodentia: Cricetidae) in Mesoamerica: new molecular evidence on the status and relationships of N. ferruginea Tomes, 1862

0006324x-127.3.coverCheck out our new paper on the systematics of the Neotoma mexicana species group in this issue of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

Shi wins N. American Society for Bat Research’s Koopman Prize

UMMZ doctoral student, Jeff Shi, recently received the Karl F. Koopman Prize from the North American Society for Bat Research.  Shi presented “Speciation and skull morphological evolution are decoupled across extant bats”.  Shi and Michigan undergraduate, Nathan Katlein, have been utilizing bat specimens from the UMMZ Mammal Division in their research.

100 Years Without the Passenger Pigeon

Pigeon-1_Detail_LEADGreat article on the 100-year anniversary of the Passenger Pigeon’s extinction!!!  The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH) currently has an exhibit, commemorating the bird’s demise.  The exhibit features several specimens deposited in the UMMZ.  Check out the UMMNH’s website for more information.

Super Pato shows advantages of whole-organism sampling

Anas-cyanoptera-KGM-486-300x218The use of voucher specimens often goes well beyond the initial intentions of the collector, such as the case of UAM 19003 (Anas cyanoptera, cinnamon teal).   In a recent post by Kevin Winkler of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, UAM 19003 was shown to have been a part of 7 different publications, including several documenting avian influenza in South America.  For another superb example of specimen longevity, see Dunnum and Cook 2012.

Entomologists Support Specimen Collections as Vital Component of Research

bf-wpToday, the Entomological Society of America released a statement on the importance of scientific collecting in research.  The statement was highlighted in a story in Entomology Today.

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

_mg_3814_wide-41753eca05203c97d7375fbf40ec14d7025b3024-s40-c85NPR ran a story this morning on the recent debate on scientific collecting that merged after the publication of Minteer et al. in Science, which suggested that scientists were the cause of several extinctions.  Our response (Rocha et al.), with over 130 co-authors, was published in favor of scientific collecting.  The NPR story presented both arguments and includes interviews from both parties.

Food habits of ocelots and potential for competition with bobcats in southern Texas

We have been waiting on this one to come out for a little while.  This paper was initiated by Susan D. Booth-Binczik of the Dallas Zoo.  We examined a couple of hundred bags of ocelot and bobcat scat, which contained an array of small mammals, among other things, in South Texas.  If you are interested in reading more, please follow this link.