Nancy B. Simmons

Curator-in-Charge, Department of Mammalogy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School


Press & Special Programs

Orange Is The New Black—For Bats

New Bat Species With Orangutan Hue Discovered in West Africa

A new bat was discovered in Africa — and it’s orange and black like Halloween

How natural history museums should play a bigger role in finding the sources of wildlife pathogens

Fieldwork on Bats in Amazonian Peru

The Science of Speciation – Molecular Adaptation in Vampire Bats

Morpholution: An Authentic Youth Science Program

Seeing Inside Bats - AMNH SciCafe

The Science of Bats 


  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1989
  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.C., 1985
  • Pomona College, B.A., 1981

Research Interests

Dr. Simmons’ research focuses on morphology, systematics, ecology, and evolution of bats.  She works with both living and fossil species, and is interested in phylogenetic relationships, biogeography, evolution of ecological diversity, and community structure of Neotropical bat faunas. A morphologist by training, her students and collaborators have pulled her into many new research areas in recent years including genome/pheonome connections, bat ectoparasites and microbiomes, disease dynamics, and conservation biology.  One of the primary organizers of the new GBatNet (Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks), she is also Chair of the Global Bat Taxonomy Working Group of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group, and a member of the Board of Directors of Bat Conservation International.  She is also on the Steering Committee for SEABCRU (Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Union) as well as the Steering Committee for Taxonomy and Collections for the Bat 1K Project to sequence genomes of all the world’s bats. 



Simmons, N. B., J. Flanders, E. M. Bakwo Fils, G. Parker, J. D. Suter, S. Bamba, M. Douno, M. Kobele Keita, A. E. Morales, and W. F. Frick.  2021.  A new dichromatic species of Myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Nimba Mountains, Guinea.  American Museum Novitates 3963: 1-37.

Curtis, A., T. D. Smith, K. P. Bhatnagar, A. Brown, and N. B. Simmons.  2020.  Maxilloturbinal aids in nasophonation in horseshoe bats (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae). Anatomical Record 303: 110 128.

Oelbaum, P. J., M. B. Fenton, N. B. Simmons, and H. G. Broders.  2019.  Community structure of a Neotropical bat fauna revealed using stable isotope analysis:  Not all species fit neatly in predicted guilds.  Biotropica 51: 719-730.

Morgan, G. S., N. J. Czaplewski, and N. B. Simmons.  2019.  A new mormoopid bat from the Oligocene (Whitneyan and Early Arikareean) of Florida, and phylogenetic relationships of the major clades of Mormoopidae (Mammalia:  Chiroptera).  Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History.   434: 1-141.

Ingala, M. R., D. J. Becker, J. B. Holm, K. Kristiansen, and N. B. Simmons.  2019.  Habitat fragmentation is associated with dietary and microbiome shifts in vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus).  Ecology and Evolution.  9: 6508-6523

Herrera, J. P., N. Duncan, E. Clare, B. Fenton, and N. B. Simmons.  2018.  Disassembly of fragmented bat communities in Orange Walk District, Belize.  Acta Chiropteralogica 20: 147—159.

Becker, D. J., M. C. Chumchal, H. G. Broders, J. M. Korstian, E. L. Clare, T. R. Ra N. B. Simmons, and M. B. Fenton.  2018.  Mercury bioaccumulation in bats reflects dietary connectivity to aquatic food webs.  Environmental Pollution 233: 1076-1085.

Voss, R. S., D. W. Fleck, R. E. Strauss, P. M. Velazco, and N. B. Simmons.  2016.  Roosting ecology of Amazonian bats:  evidence for guild structure in hyperdiverse mammalian communities.  American Museum Novitates 3870: 1-43.

Cirranello, A., N. B. Simmons, S. Solari, and R. J. Baker.  2016.  Morphological diagnoses of higher-level phyllostomid taxa (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae).  Acta Chiropteralogica 18: 39-71.

Simmons, N. B., E. R. Seiffert, and G.F. Gunnell.  2016. A new family of large omnivorous bats (Mammalia, Chiroptera) from the Late Eocene of the Fayum Depression, Egypt, with comments on use of the name “Eochiroptera”.  American Museum Novitates 3857: 1-43.

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Professor, Richard Guilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural History, 2008- present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Ph.D. Program in Biology, CUNY Graduate School, 1993-present
  • Adjunct Faculty, Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Columbia University, 1997-present

Courses Taught

  • Mammalogy
  • Machine Learning Algorithms for Ecological Data Sets
  • Field and Lab Techniques for Identification of Bats and Ectoparasites

Graduate Advisees

(Last 5 Years)

  • Maddy Foote, AMNH RGGS, 2019-2020
  • Melissa Ingala, AMNH RGGS, 2016-2020
  • Kelly Speer, AMNH RGGS, 2015-2019
  • Zachary Calamari, AMNH RGGS, 2013-2017

Graduate Committees

(Last 5 Years)

  • Anna Ragni, AMNH RGGS, 2016-2019
  • Camilo Sanin, Columbia University E3B, 2010-2016
  • Sylvia Pavan, City University of New York, 2014-2016