Staff Profiles

Kristofer M. Helgen

Research Associate Vertebrate Zoology, Mammalogy

  • Education


      Ph.D. (Zoology): University of Adelaide, 2007
      B.A. (Biology): Harvard University, 2001

  • Research Interests

    Research Interests

      In my fieldwork and museum travels around the world, I have discovered approximately 100 species of mammals previously unknown to science (about 2% of the global mammal fauna), 23 of which have so far been characterized in published or pending journal articles. Describing this wealth of overlooked biodiversity forms the core of my research program. My research links specimen-based investigations of biological inventory, taxonomy, and phylogenetics to questions in comparative ecomorphology and historical biogeography, with a special focus on the Australo-Papuan and Indo-Malayan regions. I work with similar fluency on the taxonomy of essentially all groups of terrestrial mammals, and my interests and expertise extend to applications in conservation biology, wildlife management, and host-parasite and disease interactions (a collection of impacts I categorize as "applied systematics"). In my systematic and biogeographic research I collaborate especially with scientists and students in biologically megadiverse countries and with many of the foremost mammalogical taxonomists in the global arena.

      My research also addresses major conceptual issues in the evolution of modern mammal faunas, such as the interrelationships of the placental mammal orders, the phylogenetic position of Primates among mammals, the nature and determinants of late Quaternary and modern extinctions, and the evolution and ecology of body size in vertebrates. In these multidisciplinary efforts I profitably collaborate with paleontologists, ecologists, and molecular and genomic biologists.