Kaiya Provost

Research Associate, Vertebrate Zoology,

Research Interests

Dr. Kaiya Provost is an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist. She specializes on biogeographic barriers of southwestern North America. Her research incorporates a wide variety of techniques including genomics, morphometrics, bioinformatics, bioacoustics, museum specimen preparation, and field work. Kaiya earned her Bachelor’s at Cornell University studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She then did her Master’s at Columbia University and her Ph.D. in the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, both under the advisement of Dr. Brian Smith. Her broad research interests include phylogenetic systematics, behavioral ecology, biogeography, and computational biology.



Provost, K, Myers, E., and Smith, B. T. 2020. Comparative phylogeography reveals how a barrier filters and structures taxa in North American warm deserts. bioRxiv 2020.06.17.157842

Ingala, M., Simmons, N., Wiltsch, C., Krampis, K., Provost, K., Perkins, S. Submitted. DNA Metabarcoding Reveals Dietary Network Structure in a Neotropical Bat Community. American Naturalist.


Provost, K, Mauck, W. and Smith, B. T. 2018. Genomic divergence in allopatric Northern Cardinals of the North American warm deserts is linked to behavioral differentiation. Ecology and Evolution, 8(24), 12456-12478.

Provost, K., Joseph, L., and Smith, B.T. Resolving a phylogenetic hypothesis for parrots: implications from systematics to conservation. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 118(1), 2018.


Provost, K. 2015. Little Nightjar (Setopagis parvula), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online, 2015

Teaching Experience

  • Mentor, Bergen County Academies Senior Experience. Mentored two high school students once weekly through entire school year in specimen preparation, morphometrics, R and Python programming. September 2017-June 2019.
  • Instructor, Black Rock Forest Summer Science Camp, Ornithology. Led two one-week intensive field ornithology courses, including field trips, bird identification, song learning. July 2018.
  • Adjunct Professor, Hunter College, CUNY, Introduction to Computational Science, Instructors: Dr. Katherine St. John. Led Weekly lab section for first year undergraduates, graded exams. August 2018-January 2019.
  • Reading Assistant, Columbia University, Environmental Biology II, Instructors: Dr. Matt Palmer/Dr. Natalie Boelman/Dr. Paul Olsen. Led weekly lab section for undergraduates, held office hours, graded exams and lab reports. January 2016-May 2016
  • Reading Assistant, Columbia University, Environmental Biology I, Instructors: Dr. Shahid Naeem/Dr. Dustin Rubenstein. Led recitation section for undergraduates, held office hours, wrote and graded exams, guest lectured. August 2015-January 2016
  • Teaching Assistant, Cornell University, Human Biology and Evolution, Instructors: Dr. Jere Haas/Dr. Zhenglong Gu. Taught discussion sections for undergraduates, held office hours, wrote and graded exams and assignments. August 2013-January 2014