John Alroy

John Alroy is at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. At the time of the symposium, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He completed a year-long internship with the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems group at the Smithsonian Institution, and a two-year post-doctoral position with the Research Training Group in the Analysis of Biological Diversification in Tucson, Arizona.

Relevant Publications: Alroy, J. 1997. Equilibrial diversity dynamics in North American mammals. In: Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa and Communities, M. L. McKinney (ed.), in press. Alroy, J. 1996. Constant extinction, constrained diversification, and uncoordinated stasis in North American mammals. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 127:285-311.

abstract | presentation   

David A. Burney

David A. Burney is Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Fordham University; an associated scientist of the Louis Calder Conservation and Ecology Center and the Université d'Antananarivo, Madagascar; and an instructor in the Education Department of the New York Botanical Garden. He received an M.Sc. in conservation biology from the University of Nairobi, writing his thesis on the effects of human activities on cheetahs. He received his Ph.D. in zoology, with a minor in botany, from Duke University, and wrote his dissertation on Late Quaternary environmental dynamics of Madagascar. His research has focused on endangered species, paleoenvironmental studies, and causes of extinction. He has used paleoecological techniques such as palynology, paleolimnology, and multidisciplinary stratigraphic analyses to study Late Quaternary environmental changes and extinctions in Hawaii, Madagascar, the West Indies, Africa, and North America. Recent research efforts have included applications of paleoecological techniques to cave research, fire ecology, and dietary reconstructions for extinct animals.

Relevant Publications: Burney, D.A. 1996. Historical perspectives on human-assisted biological invasions. Evolutionary Anthropology 4(6):216-221. Burney, D.A. 1993. Recent animal extinctions: Recipes for disaster. American Scientist 81:530-541.

abstract | presentation   

Joel L. Cracraft

Joel L. Cracraft is Curator in the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and the City University of New York. His research interests include systematics theory, speciation analysis, biological diversification, avian higher-level relationships, historical biogeography, and molecular systematics and evolution. Using DNA sequence information, Dr. Cracraft and his students are investigating the phylogenetic relationships of a variety of avian groups. They have also undertaken studies on the conservation genetics of tigers. Dr. Cracraft is co-chairman of Systematics Agenda 2000 International, a program of the International Union of Biological Sciences endeavoring to promote basic research and training in biodiversity and systematics science. He is also a participating curator for the Museum's permanent exhibition devoted to biodiversity. Dr. Cracraft received his Ph.D. in biology from Columbia University in 1969.

Relevant Publications: Wheeler, Q.D. and J. Cracraft. 1997. Taxonomic preparedness: Are we ready to meet the biodiversity challenge? Pp. 435-446. In: Biodiversity II, M.L. Reaka-Kudla, D.E. Wilson, and E.O. Wilson (eds.). Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press. Cracraft, J. 1992. Explaining patterns of biological diversity: Integrating causation at different spatial and temporal scales. Pp.59-76. In: Systematics, Ecology and the Biodiversity Crisis, N. Eldredge (ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.


B. Sunday Eiselt

B. Sunday Eiselt is a doctoral student in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, with interests in archaeology and paleobiology. In her research, foraging theory has provided a productive framework for exploring the interpretive potential of paleoenvironmental and archaeological data. An important concern is with the differences between male and female foraging decisions. She has extensive experience in zooarchaeology, macrobotanical analyses, and palynology. Ms. Eiselt is also interested in material culture and variability, especially as seen in basketry, architecture, and ornamentation. She has recently completed analyses of fish bones from a 9,400 year-old human paleofecal sample recovered in central Nevada.

Relevant Publications: Eiselt, B.S. Spirit Cave paleofecal materials: 9,400 year-old evidence for Great Basin indigenous use of small fish. Nevada Historical Quarterly, in press. Eiselt, B.S. Investigating the Klamath signature: A comparison of Klamath and Paiute Indian material culture. University of Nevada, Reno, Anthropology Department Research Reports, in press.

abstract | presentation   

Niles Eldredge

Niles Eldredge is Curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, and Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York. A specialist in mid-Paleozoic phacopid trilobites, his focus is on achieving a better "fit" between historical patterns of stasis and change in the fossil record and evolutionary theory. He has also analyzed the relationship between global extinctions of the geologic past and the present-day biodiversity crisis, as well as the general relationship between extinction and evolution. His ongoing concern is with delineating the differences between gene-centered reductionist evolutionary theory of the "ultradarwinians" and those who hold evolutionary theory accountable to patterns of historical data. A further aim is to specify the physical, environmental, and large-scale biological systems context of statis and change in evolutionary history. He has embarked on a new project examining the nature of pattern perception and analysis in the "historical" sciences, and the relative merits of hierarchy versus reductionism in approaching complexity.

Relevant Publications: Eldredge, N. 1995. Dominion. New York: Henry Holt and Co. Eldredge, N. 1991. The Miner's Canary: Unraveling the Mysteries of Extinction. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

abstract | presentation   

Tim F. Flannery

Tim F. Flannery is Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum. His leading research interests concern the fossil and modern mammals of the Australasian region. He has particular expertise in the mammals of the Melanesian rainforests. His interests in extinction and endangerment concern the following: 1) The nature, timing, and aftershock of megafaunal extinctions in Australasia; and 2) the nature and extent of Holocene extinctions, especially the nature and causes of modern mammal extinctions in Australasia. He is also interested in the conservation of endangered species, such as tree-kangaroos, in Melanesia.

Relevant Publications: Flannery, T.F. 1995. Mammals of the South West Pacific and Moluccan Islands. Sydney: Reed. Flannery, T.F. 1994. The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People. Sydney: Reed.

abstract | presentation | interview   

Russell W. Graham

Russell W. Graham is Curator and Head of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Natural History. He has a B.S. in Zoology and a M.S. in Geology from the University of Iowa, and received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation focused on the analysis of a Late Pleistocene mammal fauna from a cave in central Texas. Dr. Graham spent a year at the Smithsonian Institution as a post-doctoral fellow in systematics and evolutionary biology, and studied Pleistocene mammals from archaeological sites in Mexico and Colorado. His research focuses on the evolution and biogeography of Quaternary mammal communities. He has edited three books and published more than 50 professional papers on these topics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996 for his studies of the spatial response of mammals to environmental change.

Relevant Publications: Graham, R.W. and E.L. Lundelius, Jr. 1984. Coevolutionary disequilibrium. Pp. 223-249. In: Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution, P.S. Martin and R.G. Klein (eds.). Tuscon: University of Arizona Press. Graham, R.W. and J.I. Mead. 1987. Environmental fluctuations and evolution of mammalian faunas during the last deglaciation in North America. Pp. 371-402. In: North America and Adjacent Oceans During the Last Deglaciation, W.F. Ruddiman and H.E. Wright, Jr. (eds.), The Geology of North America, Geological Society of America, Volume K-3.

abstract | presentation | interview   

Gary Haynes

Gary Haynes is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, and directs the small-scale Hwange Research Trust in Zimbabwe. His research interests center on southern African prehistory and paleoenvironments, North America's Late Pleistocene extinctions, and the various roles that humans have played in shaping modern ecosystems. He has studied the behavior and biology of African elephants for 18 years, and continues looking for new analytical methods to understand fossil mammoth and mastodont sites. He is also increasingly involved in issues of conservation and sustainable development in southern Africa.

Relevant Publications: Haynes, G. 1991. Mammoths, Mastodonts, and Elephants: Biology, Behavior, and the Fossil Record. New York: Cambridge University Press. Haynes, G. The Forest with a Desert Heart: Human Fortunes in an African Wilderness. Forthcoming.

abstract | presentation   

Richard N. Holdaway

Richard N. Holdaway is a private researcher, and an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His research interests include the paleoecology and systematics of New Zealand birds. He is especially interested in the effects of introduced predators on indigenous faunas, and the causes of New Zealand's Late Holocene extinctions. For the past five years he has been engaged in a major survey of the distributions of New Zealand vertebrates during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, before humans arrived. Presently, he is investigating the time of arrival and rate of spread of the first introduced predator to reach New Zealand, the Pacific rat (Rattus exulans).

Relevant Publications: Holdaway, R.N. 1996. Arrival of rats in New Zealand. Nature 384:225-226. Holdaway, R.N. 1989. New Zealand's pre-human avifauna and its vulnerability. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 12 (supplement): 11-25.

abstract | presentation   

Helen F. James

Helen F. James is Museum Specialist in the Department of Vertebrate Zoology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Her research focus is on evolution and extinction in island avifaunas. She has 20 years of paleontological field experience in Hawaii and on other islands, including Madagascar. With Storrs Olson, in 1991, she published two monographs describing 32 extinct species of fossil birds from the Hawaiian Islands. She continues to study island paleontological records and the causes of prehistoric island extinctions, particularly in Hawaii. Other current projects include a morphological phylogeny of the Hawaiian finches (Fringillidae: Drepanidini), and studies of "ancient DNA" and the genetic relationships of extinct Hawaiian birds (with Robert Fleischer and colleagues).

Relevant Publications: James, H.F. 1995. Prehistoric extinctions and ecological changes on oceanic islands. Ecological Studies 115:88-102. James, H.F. and S.L. Olson. 1991. Descriptions of thirty-two new species of Hawaiin birds. Part II. Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 46:1-88.

abstract | presentation | interview   

Ross D. E. MacPhee

Ross D. E. MacPhee is Chairman and Curator in the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the City University of New York. His major interest is extinction -- in particular, mammalian extinctions believed to have been caused or indirectly forced by humans within the last 40,000 years. His recent work revolves around the possibility that diseases introduced by humans or their commensals have been proximate causes of extinction in many parts of the world. He conducts most of his field research on islands, because island faunas have been greatly affected by anthropogenic losses. Another major focus of Dr. MacPhee's research is historical biogeography, with particular reference to the mammalian colonization of islands. At present, using paleontological methods, he is interested in determining when and how mammals first reached the islands comprising the Greater Antilles, where recent fossil recovery has pushed back the chronicle of mammalian colonization to almost 30 million years. Other research interests include primate and insectivore evolution.

Relevant Publications: MacPhee, R.D.E. and P.A. Marx. 1997. The 40,000-year plague: Humans, hyperdisease, and first-contact extinctions. Pp. 169-217. In: Natural Change and Human Impact in Madagascar, S. Goodman and B. Patterson (eds.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. MacPhee, R.D.E. and C.E. Flemming. Mammalian extinctions since AD 1500: A preliminary census. In: The Living Planet in Crisis, J.L. Cracraft and F. Grifo (eds.). New York: Columbia University Press, in press.

introductory remarks   
abstract | presentation   

Paul S. Martin

Paul S. Martin is Emeritus Professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona's Desert Laboratory, where he has taught paleoecology and investigated Late Quaternary environmental change since 1957. He studied vertebrate zoology at Cornell University and at the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. in 1956. He did post-doctoral training at Yale University and the University of Montreal. Dr. Martin is best known for his theory of prehistoric overkill, a pattern of global extinction over the last 40,000 years apparently coinciding with human colonizations spreading out of Africa and Asia. The theory has helped rejuvenate interest in prehistoric extinctions, leading to dramatic new fossil discoveries, especially on oceanic islands.

Relevant Publications: Martin, P.S. 1990. 40,000 years of extinctions on the "Planet of Doom." In: Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, and Paleoecology 82:187-201. Martin, P.S. and R. Klein (eds.). 1984. Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

abstract | presentation | interview   

Preston A. Marx

Preston A. Marx is Senior Scientist at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Professor at New York University. In 1992, as Director of the New Mexico Primate Center, he oversaw the design and construction of a $10-million chimpanzee facility which included 24 outdoor areas for AIDS-carrying chimpanzees. In a recent study, Dr. Marx found that, in monkeys, the female hormone progesterone enhanced vaginal transmission of simian AIDS. The study linked progesterone to possible increases in the risk of HIV infection in West Africa in the region where simian AIDS viruses are naturally found.

Relevant Publications: Marx, P.A. 1996. Progesterone implants enhance SIV vaginal transmission and early virus load. Nature Medicine: 2: 1084-1089. Marx, P.A. 1997. Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) seroprevalence and characterization of a distinct HIV-2 genetic subtype from the natural range of simian immunodeficiency virus-infected sooty mangabeys. Journal of Virology, 71.

abstract | presentation   

Michael J. Novacek

Michael J. Novacek is Senior Vice-President and Provost of the American Museum of Natural History and Curator in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology. As Senior Vice-President and Provost, Dr. Novacek provides leadership to the curatorial staff and advises the president on the direction of scientific research at the Museum. He is a chief spokesperson in enunciating the Museum's scientific programs. As a curator in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, Dr. Novacek has conducted extensive research on the evolutionary relationships of extinct and living mammals. His examination of broad-based problems in systematics and evolution draws upon evidence from the fossil record and molecular biology. He is one of the team leaders of the joint American Museum-Mongolian Academy of Sciences ongoing expedition to the Gobi Desert to search for fossils, and in 1993 was one of the discoverers of Ukhaa Tolgod, the richest Cretaceous fossil site in the world. Dr. Novacek was instrumental in establishing the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, and is co-chairman of the steering committee of Systematics Agenda 2000 International, an international scientific initiative to discover, describe, and classify the world's species. He is a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Board and was recently elected to the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Novacek earned his Ph.D. in paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978.

Relevant Publications: Novacek, M.J. 1996. Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs. New York: Anchor/Doubleday. Novacek, M.J. 1992. The meaning of systematics and the biodiversity crisis. Pp. 101-108. In: Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis, N. Eldredge (ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

introductory remarks   

Norman Owen-Smith

Norman Owen-Smith is Reader in African Ecology in the Department of Zoology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and Director of the Centre for African Ecology there. His special interests lie in the ecology of African large herbivores, their interactions with vegetation, and theoretical modeling of consumer-resource systems. For his Ph.D. he studied the ecology and behavior of the white rhinoceros, and subsequently carried out research on the population and feeding ecology of kudus. He has supervised studies on elephant impacts on vegetation in Botswana and South Africa. From these modern studies he became interested in potential causes of the Late Pleistocene extinctions of large mammals. This led him to propose the "keystone herbivore" hypothesis, suggesting that the extermination of megaherbivores by human hunters led to habitat changes which precipitated extinctions of other large herbivores.

Relevant Publications: Owen-Smith, N. 1989. Megafaunal extinctions: The conservation message from 11,000 years BP. Conservation Biology 3:405-412. Owen-Smith, N. 1988. Megaherbivores: The Influence of Very Large Body Size on Ecology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

abstract | presentation | interview   

Stuart L. Pimm

Stuart L. Pimm is Professor of Ecology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. His research focuses on the question: How fast are species becoming extinct worldwide? He argues that high rates of extinction on Pacific islands also typify a wide range of mainland situations that share equally high levels of endemism. The second argument addresses how long individual species last. He has explored how species numbers vary from year to year -- a critical component of this question -- and documented the empirical patterns of time-to-extinction of small populations on islands. Finally, he has considered how useful the species-area relationship is in predicting how many endemic species are lost following habitat fragmentation. Applied to areas of high endemism in Brazil and insular Southeast Asia, his predictions based on deforestation closely match the numbers of species known to be on the brink of extinction.

Relevant Publications: Pimm, S.L., G.J. Russell, J.L. Gittleman, and T.M. Brooks. 1995. The future of biodiversity. Science 269:347-350. Pimm, S.L., M.P. Moulton, and J. Justice. 1994. Bird extinctions in the central Pacific. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 344:27-33.

abstract | plenary address | interview   

Holmes A. Semken, Jr.

Holmes A. Semken, Jr. is Professor of Geology at the University of Iowa. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Geology from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Michigan. His primary research interests are interpreting Late Pleistocene and Holocene community structure and paleoecology via micromammal remains. Because archaeological sites, when waterscreened, have proven to be reservoirs for micromammal skeletal elements, recent projects involve comparison of paleoecological interpretations derived from contemporaneous cultural and non-cultural sites, the taphonomy of rodent and insectivore remains in archaeological sites, and the changing biogeography of small mammals during the Wisconsinan-Holocene extinction event, as well as through the Holocene. Most of his work has been associated with the Northern Great Plains.

Relevant Publications: Semken, H.A., Jr. and R.W. Graham. 1996. Paleoecological and taphonomic patterns derived from correspondence analysis of zooarchaeological and paleontological faunal samples. Acta Zoologica Cracova 39:1-17. Croft, D.A. and H.A. Semken, Jr. 1994. Distribution of mammalian osteological elements recovered from waterscreened features, house fill, and overburden at the Wall Ridge Earth Lodge (13ML176), Mills County, Iowa. Current Research in the Pleistocene 11:65-67.

abstract | presentation   

Douglas Siegel-Causey

Douglas Siegel-Causey is Program Director for the Arctic Sciences program of the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, and Research Professor of Biology at the University of Nebraska. His research is focused on the biology and ecology of polar waterbirds, and he is currently studying the biogeography and genetics of Bering Sea waterfowl. Working in collaboration with an international team of archaeologists, molecular biologists, paleobiologists, and native Alaskan elders, Dr. Siegel-Causey is working to construct the historical patterns of animal distributions and human ecology of Beringian marine environments since the end of the ice age. Current research includes molecular-based studies of the role of waterfowl as vectors of viral and bacterial diseases, including influenza and Newcastle disease, and the epidemiology of avian zoonotic disease. He has authored over 100 research articles and books, and his work is currently the focus of a documentary series on Arctic research.

Relevant Publications: Siegel-Causey, D., C. Lefèvre, and A.B. Savinetskii. 1991. Historical patterns of cormorants on Amchitka Island, Alaska. Condor 93:840-852. Siegel-Causey, D. and S.P. Kharitonov. The evolution of coloniality in waterbirds. In: Colonial Breeding in Waterbirds, F. Cezilly, H. Hafner, D.N. Nettleship (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.

abstract | presentation   

Thomas W. Stafford, Jr.

Thomas W. Stafford, Jr. is Director of the Laboratory for AMS Radiocarbon Research-INSTAAR at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology, and a Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona. His research specialties include AMS radiocarbon dating, Quaternary stratigraphy, stable isotope geochemistry, cave paleontology, geoarchaeology, and paleobiology. Dr. Stafford's present research is on the chronology of vertebrate faunal change during the Late Pleistocene, the timing of human migrations, the dating chemistry of sediments, cave paleontology, database development for mammalian osteology, and automation of chemical and vacuum instrumentation.

Relevant Publications: Stafford, T.W., Jr. and H.A. Semken, Jr. 1990. Accelerator 14C dating of two micromammal species representative of the Late Pleistocene disharmonious fauna from Peccary Cave, Newton County, Arkansas. Current Research in the Pleistocene 7:129-132. Steadman, D.W., T.W. Stafford, Jr., and R.E. Funk. 1997. Nonassociation of Paleo-Indians with AMS-dated Late Pleistocene mammals from the Dutchess Quarry Caves, New York. Quaternary Research 47:105-116.

abstract | presentation   

Melanie L.J. Stiassny

Melanie L.J. Stiassny is Curator and Chair of the Department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University. Her research concerns systematics, evolutionary morphology, and conservation biology of fishes. Most recently, her research has focused on conservation issues in freshwater habitats in the Old World tropics, including an exploration of the roles of phylogenetic systematics in informing conservation programs. More than half the world's vertebrates are fishes and nearly half of these live in freshwater; fish play a central role in freshwater ecosystems, and as a source of food they are of considerable social and economic importance. Stiassny's taxonomic research concentrates on the systematics and morphological evolution of members of the family Cichlidae, a paradigm group for evolutionary study; and on a variety of studies of high-level euteleostean interrelationships. Taxonomic revisional studies are also ongoing.

Relevant Publications: Stiassny, M.L.J. 1996. An overview of biodiversity: With some lessons from African fishes. Fisheries 21(9):7-13. Stiassny, M.L.J. and M.C.C. DePinna 1994. Basal taxa and the role of cladistic patterns in the evaluation of conservation priorities: A view from freshwater. In: Systematics and Conservation Evaluation, Systematics Association Special Volume, P. Forey et al. (eds.). London: Oxford University Press.

abstract | presentation   

A.J. Stuart

A. J. Stuart, Ph.D., D.Sc., is Geologist for the Norfolk Museums Service, Norwich, England, and Honorary Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Manchester. His research interests are Quaternary vertebrates, especially interglacial faunas from northwest Europe (including directing excavation of and research on a 600,000-year-old Mammuthus trogontherii skeleton from the Cromerian type locality), and Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions. Dr. Stuart has synthesized relevant information on extinctions from Europe, and contrasted the very different extinction patterns in northern Eurasia and North America.

Relevant Publications: Stuart, A.J. 1993. The failure of evolution: Late Quaternary mammalian extinctions in the Holarctic. Quaternary International 19:101-107. Stuart, A.J. 1991. Mammalian extinctions in the Late Pleistocene of northern Eurasia and North America. Biological Reviews 66:453-562.

abstract | presentation   

David Hurst Thomas

David Hurst Thomas is Curator in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and the City University of New York. Over the past 25 years, his research interests have focused on aspects of Americanist archaeology. He has worked to understand human adaptations to the relatively harsh Great Basin area of the western U.S., concentrating geographically on the state of Nevada and temporally on the Holocene post-glacial period. In addition, over the past two decades, Dr. Thomas and his colleagues have conducted extensive environmental archaeology studies on St. Catherines Island, Georgia. Recently, he has been exploring the implications of new paleoenvironmental evidence suggesting that two major droughts struck the western U.S. within the last millennium.

Relevant Publications: Thomas, D.H. 1997. Archaeology, 3rd edition. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace & Company College Publishers. Thomas, D.H. 1994. Exploring Ancient Native America: An Archaeological Guide. New York: Macmillan.