Research Activities

Explore the research areas of groups contributing to the Museum's mammalogy collections.

Ross MacPhee Research Group

Nancy Simmons Research Group

Robert Voss Research Group


Ross MacPhee Research Group

Dr. MacPhee studies the historical biogeography of the West Indies, using a combined tectonic/paleontological approach. This program of research has been in operation for more than 20 years and has involved work on all major and many of the smaller islands in the West Indies. His research has focused on systematic and functional anatomical investigations of the groups concerned. Dr. MacPhee also studies recent mammalian extinctions (last 40,000 years). Loss of species during geologically recent times is a worldwide phenomenon that has been blamed either on direct impacts involving people, or less direct impacts caused by environmental change. His research aims to clarify the causal patterns behind these losses, most recently by studying population dynamics of fossil species using ancient DNA methods. 

Ross MacPhee staff page


Nancy Simmons Research Group

Dr. Simmons' research group focuses on systematics and evolutionary biology of bats (Chiroptera). Projects range from large-scale phylogenetic studies of bats and their place in the Mammalian Tree of Life to descriptions of new species, biogeographic analyses, investigations of details of bat morphology (e.g., cranial and dental structures), analyses of DNA sequence data, host-parasite coevolution, and descriptions and analyses of rare Eocene fossil bats. Simmons and her collaborators and students employ both morphological and molecular data in their work, and field research is a frequent component of projects.

Nancy Simmons staff page

Simmons Group Research Projects


Robert Voss Research Group

Dr. Voss's primary research interests are the evolution of marsupials and the systematics and biogeography of other Neotropical mammals that inhabit moist-forest habitats in Amazonia and the Andes. He is actively involved in long-term revisionary studies on several groups that have radiated extensively in lowland and montane rainforests, including didelphid marsupials, caviomorph rodents (erethizontids and dasyproctids), and murid rodents. For several of these groups, he is also collaborating with molecular researchers on phylogenetic studies designed to provide a stable basis for higher-level classifications, historical biogeography, and comparative analyses of ecobehavioral adaptations. The collection and analysis of faunal inventory data, especially from long-term projects in tropical rainforest habitats, is another research focus

Robert Voss staff page