Robert Anderson

Research Associate, Former Postdoctoral Fellow

The Anderson Lab 


Postdoctoral Fellow in Mammalogy, AMNH, 2003
Ph.D. (honors) in Biology (Sytematics and Ecology), Univ. of Kansas, 2001
B.A. (cum laude) in Biology, Kansas State University, 1994

Research Interests

I conduct biogeographic research that draws upon diverse data sources (fieldwork, morphology, climatology, remote sensing, physiology, and genetics).  In this interdisciplinary investigation, I continually appreciate the broad undergraduate education I received in and beyond biology at Kansas State University.  Beginning in my dissertation at the University of Kansas and postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History, I have used and helped develop methods for modeling species niches and distributions.  These techniques are broadly applied in conservation biology, invasive species, zoonotic diseases, and the effects of climate change on biodiversity.  Neotropical mammals represent my taxonomic and geographic specialty, but I have worked on various other taxa and in several regions.  I take pride in the individual and collective accomplishments of the students in my lab, and I enjoy bringing biology, geography, and mathematics together through teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.  In addition to my research associate position at AMNH, I am a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of Natural History) and an associate professor at CCNY/CUNY.  


Google Scholar Page


Peterson, A.T., J. Soberón, R. G. Pearson, R. P. Anderson, E. Martínez-Meyer, M. Nakamura, and M. B. Araújo. 2011. Ecological niches and geographic distributions. Monographs in Population Biology, 49. Princeton University Press.

Book chapters:

Anderson, R. P. 2015. Family Heteromyidae. Pp. 51-58 in: Mammals of South America, Volume 2: Rodents. J. L. Patton, U. F. J. Pardiñas, and G. D’Elía (editors). University of Chicago Press. pdf

Journal publications:

Soley-Guardia, M., E. E. Gutiérrez, D. M. Thomas, J. Ochoa-G., M. Aguilera, and R. P. Anderson. 2016. Are we overestimating the niche? Removing marginal localities helps ecological niche models detect environmental barriers. Ecology and Evolution. 6:1267-1279.pdf (Online Supplementary Material)

Anderson, R. P. 2015. El modelado de nichos y distribuciones: no es simplemente “clic, clic, clic.” [With English and French translations: Modeling niches and distributions: it’s not just “click, click, click” and La modélisation de niche et de distributions: ce n’est pas juste “clic, clic, clic”]. Biogeografía. 8:4-27. [invited by the editors; not peer-reviewed] pdf

Aiello-Lammens, M. E., R. A. Boria, A. Radosavljevic, B. Vilela, and R. P. Anderson. 2015. spThin: an R package for spatial thinning of species occurrence records for use in ecological niche models. Ecography. 38:541-545. pdf

Anderson, R. P. 2014. [Review of:] Ponsà Fontanals, M. 2011. Osvaldo Reig: la vida itinerante de un biólogo evolucionista. Journal of Mammalogy. 95:187–188. pdf [not peer-reviewed]

Boria, R. A., L. E. Olson, S. M. Goodman, and R. P. Anderson. 2014. Spatial filtering to reduce sampling bias can improve the performance of ecological niche models. Ecological Modelling, 275:73-77. pdf

Gutiérrez, E. E., R. P. Anderson, R. S. Voss, J. Ochoa-G., M. Aguilera, and S. A. Jansa. 2014. Phylogeography of the mouse opossum Marmosa robinsoni: with insights into the biogeographic history of dry habitats in northern South America. Journal of Mammalogy. 95:1175-1188. pdf

Gutiérrez, E. E., R. A. Boria, and R. P. Anderson. 2014. Can biotic interactions cause allopatry? Niche models, competition, and distributions of South American mouse opossums. Ecography. 37:741-753. pdf (Online Supplementary Material)

Muscarella, R., P. J. Galante, M. Soley-Guardia, R. A. Boria, J. M. Kass, M. Uriarte, and R. P. Anderson. 2014. ENMeval: An R package for conducting spatially independent evaluations and estimating optimal model complexity for MAXENT ecological niche models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 5:1198-1205. pdf

Radosavljevic, A. and R. P. Anderson. 2014. Making better Maxent models of species distributions: complexity, overfitting, and evaluation. Journal of Biogeography. 41:629-643. pdf (Online Supplementary Material)

Soley-Guardia, M., A. Radosavljevic, J. L. Rivera, and R. P. Anderson. 2014. The effect of spatially marginal localities in modelling species niches and distributions. Journal of Biogeography. 41:1390-1401. pdf (Online Supplementary Material S1,Online Supplementary Material S2)

Varela, S., R. P. Anderson, R. García-Valdés, and F. Fernández-González. 2014. Environmental filters reduce the effects of sampling bias and improve predictions of ecological niche models. Ecography. 37:1084–1091. pdf

Waltari, E., Schroeder, R., Mcdonald, K., Anderson, R.P., & Carnaval, A. 2014. Bioclimatic variables derived from remote sensing: Assessment and application for species distribution modelling. Methods Ecol Evol Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 1033-1042. pdf

Anderson, R. P. 2013. A framework for using niche models to estimate impacts of climate change on species distributions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1297:8-28. pdf

Shcheglovitova, M. and R. P. Anderson. 2013. Estimating optimal complexity for ecological niche models: a jackknife approach for species with small sample sizes. Ecological Modelling, 269:9-17. pdf (Online Supplementary Material)

Anderson, R. P., E. E. Gutiérrez, J. Ochoa-G., F. J. García, and M. Aguilera. 2012. Faunal nestedness and species-area relationship for small non-volant mammals in “sky islands” of northern Venezuela. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 47:157-170. pdf (Online Supplementary Material)

Anderson, R. P. 2012. Harnessing the world’s biodiversity data: promise and peril in ecological niche modeling of species distributions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1260:66-80. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and I. Gonzalez, Jr. 2011. Species-specific tuning increases robustness to sampling bias in models of species distributions: an implementation with Maxent. Ecological Modelling, 222:2796-2811. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and A. Raza. 2010. The effect of the extent of the study region on GIS models of species geographic distributions and estimates of niche evolution: preliminary tests with montane rodents (genus Nephelomys) in Venezuela. Journal of Biogeography, 37:1378-1393. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and E. E. Gutiérrez. 2009. Taxonomy, distribution, and natural history of the genus Heteromys (Rodentia: Heteromyidae) in central and eastern Venezuela, with the description of a new species from the Cordillera de la Costa. In: R. S. Voss and M. D. Carleton (editors), Systematic mammalogy: contributions in honor of Guy G. Musser. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 331:33-93. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and S.A. Jansa. 2007. Genetic comparisons between Heteromys desmarestianus and the recently described H. nubicolens (Rodentia: Heteromyidae) in northwestern Costa Rica. Mammalian Biology, 72:54-61. pdf

Anderson, R. P., A. T. Peterson, and S. L. Egbert. 2006. Vegetation-index models predict areas vulnerable to purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) invasion in Kansas. Southwestern Naturalist, 51:471-480. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and R. M. Timm. 2006. A new montane species of spiny pocket mouse (Rodentia: Heteromyidae: Heteromys) from northwestern Costa Rica. American Museum Novitates, 3509:1-38. pdf

Anderson, R. P., M. Weksler, and D. S. Rogers. 2006. Phylogenetic analyses of spiny pocket mice (Heteromyidae: Heteromyinae) based on allozymic and morphological data. Journal of Mammalogy, 87:1218-1233. pdf

Elith, J., C. H. Graham, R. P. Anderson, M. Dudík, S. Ferrier, A. Guisan, R. J. Hijmans, F. Huettmann, J. R. Leathwick, A. Lehmann, J. Li, L. G. Lohmann, B. A. Loiselle, G. Manion, C. Moritz, M. Nakamura, Y. Nakazawa, J. M. Overton, A. T. Peterson, S. J. Phillips, K. Richardson, R. Scachetti-Pereira, R. E. Schapire, J. Soberón, S. Williams, M. S. Wisz, and N. E. Zimmerman. 2006. Novel methods improve prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography, 29:129-151. pdf

[This work was featured in the "Research Highlights" section of Nature, 18 May 2006: 259 pdf].

Phillips, S. J., R. P. Anderson, and R. E. Schapire. 2006. Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecological Modelling, 190:231-259. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and Martínez-Meyer. 2004. Modeling species’ geographic distributions for preliminary conservation assessments: an implementation with the spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) of Ecuador. Biological Conservation, 116:167-179. pdf

Gómez-Laverde, M., R. P. Anderson, and L. F. García. 2004. Integrated systematic reevaluation of the Amazonian genus Scolomys (Rodentia: Sigmodontinae). Mammalian Biology, 69:119-139. pdf

Anderson, R. P. 2003. Real vs. artefactual absences in species distributions: tests for Oryzomys albigularis (Rodentia: Muridae) in Venezuela. Journal of Biogeography, 30:591-605. pdf

Anderson, R. P. 2003. Taxonomy, distribution, and natural history of the genus Heteromys (Rodentia: Heteromyidae) in western Venezuela, with the description of a dwarf species from the Península de Paraguaná. American Museum Novitates, 3396:1-43. pdf

Anderson, R. P., D. Lew, and A. T. Peterson. 2003. Evaluating predictive models of species' distributions: criteria for selecting optimal models. Ecological Modelling, 162:211-232. pdf

Anderson, R. P., M. Gómez-Laverde, and A. T. Peterson. 2002. Geographical distributions of spiny pocket mice in South America: insights from predictive models. Global Ecology & Biogeography, 11:131-141. pdf

 Anderson, R. P. and C. O. Handley, Jr. 2002. Dwarfism in insular sloths: biogeography, selection, and evolutionary rate. Evolution, 56:1045-1058. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and P. Jarrín-V. 2002. A new species of spiny pocket mouse (Heteromyidae: Heteromys) endemic to western Ecuador. American Museum Novitates, 3382:1-26. pdf

Anderson, R. P., A. T. Peterson, and M. Gómez-Laverde. 2002. Using niche-based GIS modeling to test geographic predictions of competitive exclusion and competitive release in South American pocket mice. Oikos, 98:3-16. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and C. O. Handley, Jr. 2001. A new species of three-toed sloth (Mammalia: Xenarthra) from Panamá, with a review of the genus Bradypus. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 114:1-33. pdf

[This work was featured in the "Discoveries" section of BBC Wildlife magazine, October 2001:17; and in the “Wildlife” section of National Geographic magazine, March 2006:2, 20].

Download Excel file of Bradypus localities from this paper

Anderson, R. P. 1999 [2000]. Preliminary review of the systematics and biogeography of the spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) of Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 23 (Suplemento especial):613-630. pdf

Anderson, R. P. and P. J. Soriano. 1999. The occurrence and biogeographic significance of the southern spiny pocket mouse Heteromys australis in Venezuela. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 64:121-125. pdf

Lim, B. K., M. D. Engstrom, R. M. Timm, R. P. Anderson, and L. C. Watson. 1999. First records of 10 bat species in Guyana and comments on diversity of bats in Iwokrama Forest. Acta Chiropterologica, 1:179-190. pdf

Cadena, A., R. P. Anderson, and P. Rivas-Pava. 1998. Colombian mammals from the Chocoan slopes of Nariño. Occasional Papers of the Museum, Texas Tech University, 180:1-15. pdf

Anderson, R. P. 1994. Faunal Analysis of Feature 4, 14JW1. In: B. Logan and W. E. Banks (editors), White Rock revised: archaeological investigation of the White Rock and Warne sites, Lovewell Reservoir, Jewell County, Kansas. University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology Project Report Series, 85: 55-64. [invited by the editors; not peer-reviewed]