The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund

Theodore Roosevelt Statue

Since establishment of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund in 1961, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has provided funding for young scientists through Research GrantsPostdoctoral Fellowships and Graduate Student Fellowships, thanks to generous initial gifts and the ongoing support of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and individual donors.

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund’s mission is to support research in any phase of wildlife conservation or related fields of North American natural history that are included in the activities of the AMNH. Research can be on the terrestrial or freshwater aquatic fauna of North America, living or fossil, covering all territory north of the Isthmus of Panama including the Caribbean. A standing committee of AMNH’s Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS), including distinguished Curators and representatives of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, recommend the awardees each year from among applicants reviewed and nominated by AMNH academic staff.

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Research Grants

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Research Grants are meant to provide seed money for research projects, to foster professional development and encourage studies on the North American fauna to which Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, devoted so much of his time and energy. Grants typically range from $1000 to $3500 each, and in 2019, 34 grants were awarded. Since the inception of the program, over 2100 Theodore Roosevelt Research Grants, totaling close to $2 million, have been awarded to doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and other early career scientists from around the world.

Examples of recent research projects supported by Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund grants include: 

  • Movement and Habitat Selection of Prairie Rattlesnakes in Central Idaho 
  • Cranial Variation in Triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana
  • Colonization and Gene Flow of Coastal Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus truei) at Mount St. Helens
  • Ecdysteroid Natural History and Ecological Function in two North American Gryllus Species
  • Systematics and Conservation of the Southern Cavefish Species Complex 
  • Leeches of Chiapas, Mexico
  • Multiproxy Characterization of the Late Devonian Hangenberg Bioevent in Ohio

AMNH curator Dr. Rob Voss describes the success of this program and cites many of the publications it has produced in his report - The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund at Age 50: A Preliminary Analysis of Grant-supported Publications. (Available here with thanks to Dr. Voss).


USA Today (July 24, 2018) – Largest dinosaur foot to date discovered in Wyoming, say paleontologists

Paleontologists with the American Museum of Natural History say they've discovered the largest dinosaur foot to date. A study published Tuesday in the journal Peerj identified the foot found in Wyoming as belonging to a brachiosaur, one of the largest land animals on Earth. "There are tracks and other incomplete skeletons from Australia and Argentina that seem to be from even bigger animals, but those gigantic skeletons were found without the feet," said Emanuel Tschopp, a postdoctoral fellow in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Paleontology, and co-author of the study, in a statement.

Read the full article at USA Today.

AMNH Postdoctoral and Graduate Fellows Supported by the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fellowships also may be awarded to AMNH-affiliated postdoctoral fellows and graduate fellows supported by the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Committee upon recommendation of the AMNH Science divisions, RGGS faculty and RGGS Academic Affairs and Fellowships Committee. Read more about Graduate Fellowships and Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Recent Theodore Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellows, American Museum of Natural History

Dr. Sean Harrington

Sean Harrington in the field.

Research Interests: Population genomics, speciation, and phylogeography; Computational phylogenetic methods; Molecular phylogenetic inference and divergence dating; Evolution and systematics of reptiles and amphibians.

Research Focus: My current postdoctoral research explores the genomics of speciation and population divergence in eastern North American snakes. I am studying multiple pairs of populations and species that exhibit genetic breaks across the transition between the Eastern Forest and Great Plains ecoregions. By comparing genomes from populations and species in these very different habitats, I am identifying genomic regions under selection that contribute to population divergence and that may ultimately lead to speciation. Performing these comparisons across multiple species will help us understand if replicated speciation across this ecological boundary results from similar genomic changes in multiple species or if adaptation and speciation are truly idiosyncratic.

Biography: I received my MS in Biology from John Carroll University in 2010 and my PhD from the San Diego State University and University of California, Riverside Joint Doctoral Program in Evolutionary Biology in 2018. During my MS and PhD, I studied comparative phylogenetics and phylogeography of reptiles and amphibians, with a particular focus on snakes. I then worked on computational phylogenetic methods as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa before joining the AMNH

Dr. Ricardo Botero-Trujillo

R. Botero Trujillo in the field.

Research Interests: Arachnology; Taxonomy, systematics, and biological classification; Morphological diversification, functional morphology; Sexual selection; Cave biology. 

Research Focus: My postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History focusses on the study of the evolution, diversification, and classification of the arachnid order Ricinulei (‘hooded tick spiders’). 

An ancient group, wandering the planet for at least 319 million years, Ricinulei is among the most enigmatic, poorly studied, and least understood groups of terrestrial arthropods. In spite of this group’s low taxonomic diversity compared to other arachnids—less than 100 extant ricinuleid species have been discovered—the morphological diversity existing inside the group speaks of a long and complex evolutionary history. Evolution inside the group has produced significant accumulation of morphological change and with it, a remarkable diversification of somatic and sexual structures. Because of its age, diverse morphology, and manageable taxonomic diversity, Ricinulei offers a new and promising system for addressing evolutionary topics within a phylogenetic framework, such as: the origin and diversification of somatic and sexual structures, the evolution of sexual dimorphism, and the effect of sexual selection in the diversification of the group. 

My project entails different aspects, all of which intersect one another in its core, including: structure-level study and homology propositions; species-level taxonomy and new species description; phylogeny and revisionary taxonomy; determination of character evolution and hypotheses testing. 

In addition to my work on Ricinulei, I dedicate part of my free time to continue doing research on two other arachnid orders that I have also worked with in the past, Solifugae (‘sun spiders’) and Scorpiones. My ongoing research on these two groups is mostly focused on new species description, development of systematic revisions, and proposal of revised taxonomic classifications. 

Biography: A native Colombian, Ricardo Botero-Trujillo earned his B.Sc. in Biology from the Pontifical Xavierian University in 2007. After a 5-year period working in the pharmaceutical industry, Ricardo moved to Argentina where he received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires in 2018. His dissertation was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Martín J. Ramírez and Dr. Andrés A. Ojanguren Affilastro, at the Argentinian Museum of Natural Sciences. It consisted of a full revision of the taxonomy and a phylogenetic analysis of one of the twelve extant solifuge families, Mummuciidae, using morphological and molecular data.

Earlier Theodore Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellows, American Museum of Natural History

2022-2024      William Gearty

2019-2020      Sean Harrington

2018-2020      Ricardo Botero-Trujillo

2017-2019       Emanuel Tschopp

2016-2018       Edward Myers

2016-2016       Mar Ferrer Suay

2013-2016       Angelo Soto-Centeno

2010-2012       Lucja Fostowicz-Frelik

2009-2011       Paul Velazco

2007-2009       Eric Waltari

2004-2006       Kurt Pickett

2001-2003       Robert Anderson

2000-2001       Susan L. Perkins

2000-2001       Meredith Mahoney

1990-1992       David Yeates

Recent Theodore Roosevelt Graduate Fellows, Richard Gilder Graduate School

2011 - 2013

Kaori Tsukui
Research Interests: vertebrate paleontology (mammals), paleoecology and geochronology
Primary AdvisorDr. John J. Flynn
Dissertation Title: Chronology and faunal evolution of the Middle Eocene Bridgerian North American Land Mammal Age: Achieving high precision geochronology (Defended April 2015)
Ph.D. Awarded: Columbia University, 2015
Prior Education: University of New Hampshire, BS & MS